HCA Florida Blake Hospital holds healthcare experience for Manatee High School Medical Academy students

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 9:58 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Part of HCA Florida Blake Hospital looked more like a high tech training laboratory on Thursday. The hospital played host for what’s called an “immersive healthcare experience” for seniors at Manatee High School’s Medical Academy.

The Medical Academy identifies students, starting in the ninth grade, who express interest in working in various types of healthcare fields. From each academic year until they graduate, the students can enroll in classes that fit their specific areas of interest.

At HCA Florida Blake Hospital, those students got hands-on experience with medical robots and surgical simulators.

Thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Ferguson discussed his medical career path with students while holding an open forum on lung cancer and its risk factors as part of lung cancer awareness month. He added the chance to work with the state-of-the-art robotics gives students an opportunity they might not otherwise have.

“The robots have revolutionized thoracic surgery. They allow patients to come in and get surgery for lung cancer and leave within one or two days,” Ferguson said.

HCA Florida Blake Hospital also presented a $2,000 donation to the Manatee High School’s Medical Academy for its future growth.

Academy officials said often, students graduate with licenses as certified nursing assistants or electrocardiogram technicians.

“We offer industry certification in their senior year, so it does help them get a job,” said Laura Sollenberger, Manatee High School Medical Academy Director.