Thirty juniors in Trenton Catholic Academy’s Upper School, Hamilton, took advantage of a special program that gave them a glimpse into various aspects of the healthcare industry.
Through a partnership with St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, the teens spent the latter part of their junior year learning about the hospital and shadowing employees in fields of interest.
“It gives them a feel for what it is like to go to work at a hospital,” said St. Francis spokeswoman Valerie Metzker.
It was the first year of the partnership, through which the students visited the medical center on five separate occasions.
The program was launched by an orientation session, which included speakers from nine areas of the hospital – nursing, respiratory, pharmacy, security, emergency medicine, radiology, physical therapy, bio-med and employee health. Students then broke up into groups and shadowed medical center staff as they worked, learning how various jobs are done in the medical facility.
“Some of them were on the (hospital) floor, so they really got to see first-hand what was happening with the nurses,” Metzker said.
The program will continue next year, hospital officials say, and TCA principal Michele Neves plans to investigate the possibility of the students earning college credits for the experience.
“The students really enjoyed coming out to St. Francis and working with the different hospital experts,” Neves said. “They learned about different job positions and skills and were able to take part in educational activities that resulted in a great experience.”
One of the activities the students enjoyed the most involved a black light. Each student placed his or her hands under the light, which revealed germs on their skin. Then they washed their hands and ran them under the light a second time, to see how well they did and what germs they might have missed.
“It really teaches them about washing their hands,” said Metzker.
Jerry Jablonowski, president and CEO of the hospital, said that the program fits well with the medical center’s community education efforts.
“Community education is part of our mission to be a transforming, healing presence,” he said. “(This program) was the beginning of a partnership that can interest students in healthcare positions in a unique on-the-job setting that they may not have had exposure to otherwise.”
Metzker said that the program is open to juniors for a reason – those interested in the healthcare industry can learn more about it before making decisions about where to go to college and what to study. She said that such experiences are not always available to students until they are already on a path to their major in college.
“It is introducing them to healthcare before they have to make those vital steps of choosing a school,” she said. “It really does give them a whole bunch of options.”[[In-content Ad]]