New Chelsea HS surgery lab giving students operating room experience

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 1:54 PM CST
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CHELSEA, Ala. (WBRC) - Think about how different your life might be now if you had been exposed to a course giving you surgery room experience. It’s happening at Chelsea High School after the district took their Health Sciences program to a new level.

The surgery lab at Chelsea is the first in the state. Andrea Maddox, a former UAB registered nurse, is teaching the course to students starting in the 10th grade. By senior year, students get access to a real operating room at Shelby Baptist Medical Center and Heart South Cardiovascular Clinic. The internships are great, but they also leave the program with skills to go directly into high paying jobs.

Maddox says, “Right now, every student that is in my health science internship class is a certified patient care technician. So once they turn 18 and graduate, they will be able to take jobs and fill those high demand roles and earn a high wage too.”

For one AP honors student, the experience has been life changing. Before showing up for class at Chelsea, she was in the operating room at Shelby Baptist Medical Center getting a first-hand look at the real thing, thanks to their internship program.

Jessie Holsombeck is a senior who now knows she wants to be a surgeon.

“Through career exploration and this class, I found I am interested in surgery, which I never would have thought before this class and this program. I never thought that I would have been standing in the operating room this morning. It’s quite amazing,” Holsombeck said.

Maddox’s teaching career is enhanced by her prior experiences, including once being part of a team that recently made history at UAB.

“So, I was able to work alongside some of the best surgery technologists, registered nurses and hospital staff, and it’s been really exciting to see the success they have had recently with the Xenotransplant being able to do the first pig to human transplant and have success with that,” Maddox continued.

Maddox is excited to inspire a whole new generation of students to look into the operating room as a possible career.


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