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North Hall senior Samantha Updegrove gaining anesthesiology experience
Samantha Updegrove, center, works with Dr. Jeff Schermerhorn and Ashley Cooper at Northeast Georgia Otolaryngology.

An injury on field day years ago sparked an interest in anesthesiology that remains strong for Samantha Updegrove.

Now Updegrove is gaining experience in the field. She is an intern at Northeast Georgia Otolaryngology, which is a surgery center specializing in ear, nose and throat care.

“When I was in fifth grade, I broke my arm at field day and went under anesthesia when doctors reset my arm,” said Updegrove. “Since that experience, I’ve been fascinated by the career.”

The North Hall High senior wants to major in biology or chemistry and plans to attend the University of North Georgia or the University of Georgia to gain the education necessary to be a nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist assistant, which Updegrove says are her dream jobs.

Updegrove is currently a dual enrollment student at UNG, so she is only able to intern once a week. That small setback, however, doesn’t stop her from getting necessary experience.

“I usually intern from 6:45 to 12 every Thursday, so I get in about five hours a week,” Updegrove said.

Unlike many health care interns who get stuck filing paperwork or doing busy work, Updegrove is present during surgeries such as tonsillectomies, where the surgeon removes the patient’s tonsils.

“Most of the mentorship is just observing surgeries, but I also stock the anesthesia cart with IV supplies and fill the facemask bins,” Updegrove said. “Between surgeries I wipe down the anesthesia machine and set up facemasks and filters for the next patient.”

Despite the fact she can only be there once a week, Updegrove’s internship has been extremely beneficial to her.

“The people at the internship are so passionate about their jobs and love what they do …” Updegrove said. “Everyone at the surgery center is so helpful and such great teachers. I’ve learned so much in the past few weeks.”

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