Local med student gaining invaluable experience at hometown hospital


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Ashley Dodson always felt she was destined for a career in health care, and her hometown hospital is helping to make that a reality.

Dodson hails from Santa Fe in Maury County. Several members of her family work in the medical field, so it’s no surprise health care has always been her interest.

When she was a sophomore at Santa Fe High School in 2014, Dodson participated in Maury Regional Medical Center’s (MRMC) Maury Academy for Students in Health (MASH) program to try and get a better understanding of what working in health care entails. The two-week summer camp for high schoolers involved lectures, labs, demonstrations, hands-on applications and interactive clinical sessions led by physicians, nurses, technologists, therapists and pharmacists.

“It was a perfect opportunity,” Dodson said. “That whole team was wonderful. They really helped prepare me for college and now my clinical rotations.”

Dodson graduated from Santa Fe in 2016 and attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville on a STEM scholarship.

After graduating in 2020, she worked at NHC Maury Regional Transitional Care Center as a certified nursing assistant to gain more experience before she was accepted at Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Knoxville, Tennessee.

She didn’t know until it was time to be placed for her clinical rotations that Lincoln Memorial and MRMC had partnered to make the health center one of LMU’s core rotation sites.

This is the fourth year MRMC and LMU have partnered to bring clinical students to the hospital.

“Teaching the next generation of health care workers is part of our commitment to the community we serve.  I’m honored for our organization to be partners with Lincoln Memorial to help train these future medical providers,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to get hands-on experience caring for patients and learn from our experienced medical staff.”

The chances still weren’t great that Dodson would be placed at MRMC, but luck was on her side.

Dodson and eight other LMU students were matched with MRMC and began their two-year clinical rotations in July. She’s thrilled to be back at home — quite literally.

“I’m very fortunate that I get to live with my parents while working through my clinical rotations,” she said. “Medical school isn’t easy. To have my parents and my support system right here helping me means a lot.”

The MASH program at MRMC has evolved into a new partnership with Maury County Public Schools to provide a work-based learning program for local students to shadow hospital staff and gain real-world experience.

The program puts students in a department for a semester, and they get to learn about everything involving patient care. They rotate to a new department for the second semester in the spring.

Students come to MRMC weekly on Tuesdays or Thursdays for two hours throughout the school year.

“This is a fantastic program for our local students,” said Cindy Short, director of volunteer services at MRMC. “They get to see what they learned in the classroom in a real-world situation and gain invaluable experience.”

Return To Previous Page