Medical Camps, Medical Training and Classes Now Offered in Flagler County

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Medical training facilities are few and far between when it comes to Flagler County. Recently we covered the Grand Opening for Salus Medical Training, who now offers medical training here in Flagler County. On top of helping those in the medical industry keep their certifications current, she is also branching out to offer other classes, like babysitter classes, that teach kids and adults who plan to babysit about necessary first aid and CPR information. She is also offering a new concept called Medical Camps. These camps are 4-5 days long and are group classes. They are open to people of any age, kids and adults to learn CPR, first aid, phlebotomy and so much more.

We sat down with Lauren the Owner and teacher at Salus to hear her story and how she came to own this training facility and offer these services.

We had to know before we dove into the interview what called Lauren to the medical industry. “During my time at the University of South Florida (Go BULLS!), I had the incredible opportunity  to work as a Unit Coordinator at pediatric urgent care in the evenings. In this role, I was responsible for checking patients in and out, verifying their health insurance, and ensuring smooth coordination of ambulance transportation for children with more serious conditions. After a few months on the job, the head nurse approached me with an exciting proposition: she asked if I would be interested in receiving on-the-job training to become a Medical Assistant (MA). At that time, I had limited knowledge about what an MA did, but I accepted the offer to expand my skill set. The nurses and pediatricians generously took me under their wing, providing comprehensive training in a wide range of clinical skills. From accurately measuring vital signs to mastering drug dosage calculations, administering injections, drawing blood, and even removing stitches, I was immersed in a wealth of practical knowledge. I also learned how to perform clia-waived tests, including strep throat, pregnancy, identifying mononucleosis, and even collecting urine cultures. I was not married and kid-less at the time, so I took on an additional role as an MA during the day at a family practice clinic. Blue scrubs in the morning for the family practice and purple in the evening for the urgent care!” said Lauren.

Working in the medical field and teaching medical professionals are two different callings. We asked Lauren what called her to the area of teaching, “While working as an MA, an opportunity presented itself when a colleague approached me and asked if I would be interested in teaching medical assistant courses at a local school. Without hesitation, I gladly accepted the offer and embarked on a fulfilling journey into academic instruction. For several years, I dedicated myself to shaping the minds of aspiring MAs as part of an MA program. However, an exciting chance soon arose to establish a completely new MA program at another local university. I applied and was thrilled to be offered the role of Program Coordinator at this new institution. As I immersed myself in the responsibilities of running the MA program, I gained invaluable experience and insights. It was during this time that I began to realize my true potential and passion for academic leadership. A few years later, I transitioned into a new role as the Associate Academic Dean at the same university. With each passing year, my dedication and expertise were recognized, leading to a promotion to the position of Department Chair for the School of Health Sciences. In this role, I assumed the responsibility of curriculum development and obtaining and maintaining accreditation for 14 campuses.”

Why open a teaching facility in Flagler County? “In the heart of Flagler County, one of Florida’s fastest-growing counties, there lies a significant challenge — a shortage of medical professionals. As a mother of four young children, I’ve experienced this shortfall firsthand. The urgent need for medical professionals intensifies when we consider our blossoming older population. Census data shows that 31.4% of Flagler County’s residents are 65 or older. The reality is, with a rapidly aging population in need of medical attention, our local system is struggling to keep pace. To resolve this pressing issue, we need to look at viable solutions. A key part of this solution lies in training for entry-level medical roles like medical assisting and phlebotomy. These roles do not require years of schooling, yet they are crucial pillars of our healthcare infrastructure.

Flagler County urgently needs an accessible, effective, and affordable training hub, a place like Salus Medical Training. This would empower those who might not have the time or financial resources for lengthy educational programs. A training center like this would cultivate necessary medical skills and promote rapid deployment of these skills into our local health ecosystem. By introducing an establishment like Salus Medical Training, we can ensure that our community members learn valuable trade skills that they can quickly practice. This will not only help meet the healthcare demands of our rapidly growing community but will also create a path for many to embark on rewarding careers in healthcare,” said Lauren.

Why medical camps?
“As a seasoned advocate of summer camps for my four boys, all under ten, I’ve often wondered what the options were for older children. What avenues exist for those considered too ‘old’ for the conventional summer camp yet too young to navigate the realm of 9-to-5 jobs? Where do they venture? What opportunities await them? I was struck by a thought — an opportunity for these teens and adults to attend a camp that serves more than a summer distraction. A camp where they could gain hands-on experience with real-life medical skills, igniting their interest in the healthcare field and giving them a head start in determining if it’s a career path they’d want to pursue. I also noticed that many individuals, particularly our youth, aren’t equipped with essential life-saving skills like CPR. I imagined folding these crucial skills into the week-long camp curriculum. In addition to creating an engaging environment, we could provide them with training in CPR, First Aid, and Bloodborne Pathogens, all certified by the American Heart Association. I found myself contemplating a question — what would have truly benefited me at that age? The answer seemed simple: a place that could educate and empower while nurturing the spirit of exploration and growth. The proposition of such a summer camp encapsulates all these elements and more, promising a memorable summer and invaluable life skills for our young adults,” said Lauren.

How did you get businesses to donate towards “scholarships” for the medical camps?

Lauren told us, “In my quest to make the camp accessible to all students, I strived to maintain affordability. Yet, despite what I believed to be a fair pricing structure, it became apparent that numerous interested students were constrained by their financial circumstances. At a business networking meeting, a surprising solution unfolded. One of my business associates, A Cali Collective Project, stepped forward, expressing their willingness to sponsor a student for the camp. This act of generosity resonated within our business networking community, setting off a ripple effect. Soon, several other local businesses, including LCI Taxes, Painting with Fin-S, Palm Coast Acupuncture and Chiropractic, Remembering Heroes, and others, joined the cause, offering to sponsor scholarships for these eager students. I reached out to the students who wanted to attend the camp but could not afford it. The moment I revealed they could attend the camp on a full scholarship was priceless. The camp was no longer just an aspirational dream for them but an accessible reality, thanks to the support from our local business community.”

Do you expect to continue getting sponsorships from businesses to cover some scholarships for those who normally would have to skip medical camps?

“Yes, I would love to see more businesses provide a medical camp opportunity for our future medical professionals,” said Lauren. 

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in the medical field?

“A certain joy comes from teaching, particularly when I witness the spark of realization in my students’ eyes — the moment they understand that they truly can do it,” said Lauren. “The day they accurately measure blood pressure for the first time, their eyes brighten with confidence, a sight that invariably makes my day. There’s a similar thrill when they successfully draw blood for the first time, mastering a new skill after learning the right tools and techniques. Each successful learning moment is a testament to their growing competence, and seeing their progress brings an indescribable satisfaction. Knowing that I play a part in shaping Flagler County’s future medical staff fills me with immense excitement. It’s inspiring to watch these students defy the odds, especially those who have been told they could never succeed in the medical field. My training programs prove those naysayers wrong and validate the potential in every student. It’s not just about teaching them medical skills; it’s about bolstering their confidence and setting them on the path to a successful medical career.”

What are your goals regarding teaching in the medical field?

Lauren told us, “When I launched Salus Medical Training in December of 2022, I set an ambitious goal to certify and train 100 Flagler County residents. I’m proud to say we have achieved this target and soared past it, currently standing at an impressive count of 237 and still growing! Now, we’re eyeing our next milestone: the 500 mark. We are nearly halfway there. However, our vision at Salus goes beyond numbers. Alongside our CPR certification and training programs, we’re eager to broaden our offerings by expanding our medical camps and educational training programs. Our aim is to support all those in our community who harbor aspirations to carve a path in the medical field.”

What are some of the biggest challenges you face when teaching in the medical field?

“Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is indeed rewarding, though not without its share of challenges. One hurdle we’ve faced is raising awareness of our presence in Flagler County. Many of our residents are accustomed to traveling to neighboring cities like Jacksonville, Daytona, or even Orlando for the certifications and training we offer locally,” said Lauren. “Another considerable challenge lies in the financial constraints within our community. These constraints often hinder potential students from accessing the life-saving trainings and certifications we provide. Yet, amid these difficulties, we are thankful for our business scholarship sponsors. We are grateful for their contributions, which bridge the financial gap and facilitate access to our training programs. Through their support, we can continue to empower our local community with the necessary skills and certifications, making a difference in Flagler County’s healthcare landscape.”

How do the people you teach inspire you to continue teaching?

“Upon conclusion of nearly every training course or certification class I teach, I’m inundated with an outpouring of positive responses. Text messages, emails, and phone calls come pouring in, with many students exclaiming that my course surpasses any they’ve taken before. This consistent feedback lets me know that I’ve chosen the right field and provide the best educational experience to every student who walks through our doors,” replied Lauren. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career?

“My husband and our four boys are my biggest supporters in this entrepreneurial journey. Building a business from scratch has required a significant investment of my time and our personal finances. Despite these sacrifices, my family has consistently rallied behind me, sharing in my vision and appreciating the transformations I’ve been able to accomplish, as well as those I aspire to achieve in the future,” shared Lauren. 

These medical camps and classes are a great way for kids to get involved in something that can help further their futures. Many kids dream of being a doctor or a nurse and camps and classes like these can go a long way in finding out if this really is the field for them or not; as well as helping them advance their medical training while still in school.  

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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