In Estancia High’s Medical Academy, students practice lifesaving skills in a classroom mirroring a hospital


Estancia students who aspire to be in a medical career can practice lifesaving skills in a classroom resembling a hospital at the Costa Mesa high school.

Half of teacher Hayato Yuuki’s classroom is formatted as a traditional learning setting, with desks, textbooks and a whiteboard. The other half looks like a hospital, with gurneys, stethoscopes, a blood pressure monitor, manikins and Nursing Kelly, a full-body manikin that mimics medical symptoms.

The way Yuuki sees it, students interested in a career in the medical field will benefit from hands-on experience. He serves as coordinator for the Estancia Medical Academy, which is in its ninth year of offering students a series of classes from their sophomore through senior years.


Yuuki said it’s “amazing” to see his students’ growth through the years. Some have gotten jobs in the field.

“Now they’re paramedics and [emergency medical technicians], and they said they wouldn’t have done it otherwise,” said Yuuki, who also is an EMT in the trauma center at UC Irvine Medical Center on weekends.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s partnership with the Coastline Regional Occupational Program helps fund the academy, also known as the Patient Care Pathway. A similar program is underway at Costa Mesa High School.

On Thursday, Yuuki taught his students how to help a patient experiencing heat cramps.

Patients in such cases should be placed in a cool place and offered water if they’re conscious and not vomiting, he said.

“It’s like when you’re running the track and get a side cramp,” Yuuki told his class. “You feel better after you drink water.”

But if a patient describes excruciating pain, he or she should be taken to a hospital, he said.

Yuuki later assigned groups of students to practice their skills on medical equipment. The class, he said, is meant to prepare the students for how to react in “911 situations.”

Miriam Arriage, 16, kneeled on the floor as she performed 15 chest compressions on a manikin infant. Classmate Stephanie Arellano, 17, stepped in by placing a valve mask over the infant’s face to provide ventilation. They repeated that for 10 cycles.

In another corner of the room, Gisselle Suarez, 17, focused on taking Nursing Kelly’s blood pressure.

Yuuki can control Nursing Kelly’s oxygen level and blood pressure to see if his students respond appropriately. The blood pressure monitor helps students familiarize themselves with reading heart rates.

“What’s the blood pressure?” Yuuki asked Gisselle.

“120 over 80,” she said — a “good spot.”

Yuuki walked through the room offering criticism and suggestions.

Several students credited the academy and their teacher for inspiring them to pursue careers as EMTs or paramedics.

Issa Juarez, 17, said she enjoyed learning how “simple actions can be dangerous and risky,” such as strapping a patient with a spine injury onto a backboard. There’s a risk that the patient could be paralyzed, but Issa said she can handle the pressure.

Stephanie agreed.

“I know I’ll be ready for it,” she said.