High schoolers find inspiration, education at JPS

April 3rd, 2018

Seniors from O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth toured JPS Tuesday as part of a program designed to help develop the healthcare providers of tomorrow.

O.D. Wyatt Health Science Technology teacher Edward McGinley said teens in his Gold Seal Program of Choice health science class are all seniors and members of the Health Occupation Students of America. They’re studying material in high school that they’ll need to master in college in order to make their dreams of a career in healthcare come true. On Tuesday, JPS offered a tour of its facilities and a chance to meet team members and to familiarize themselves with a hospital setting to students. On Thursday, the high schoolers will come back and get to work with patients.

“They all are interested in healthcare careers but they might not know exactly what they want to do,” McGinley said of his students. “They only see doctors and nurses on the hospital shows on television, so it’s important that they see there are other options. Today they’ve seen what therapists, techs, radiologists, phlebotomists and a lot of other people do. This may cause them to change their mind about the direction they choose – or it may reinforce the instincts they already had about their career paths.”

O.D. Wyatt High School students explore JPS

O.D. Wyatt High School students explore JPS

Mitzi Vander Ark, JPS Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator, told the students she was excited to meet with them because JPS is eager to help them on their way to healthcare careers.

“This is a great industry and there are a lot of good jobs,” Vander Ark told the students. “It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to help people and there are many rewarding careers here that a lot of people outside of the healthcare field might not even know about.”

McGinley said he took a similar tour of JPS when he was in the Explorers program during high school, so he was excited to be able to bring his class through for a similar experience.

“I was here many years ago to learn the same kind of things these kids are learning today,” McGinley said. “This is the first time in a long time we’ve had a program like this come through JPS. But we’re hoping it’s going to be a long-term partnership.”

After the 14 students toured JPS, many said they were inspired by what they learned. Eight of them said they wanted to pursue a career as a nurse, one said he wants to be a doctor, one said she wants to be a pharmacy tech, one wanted to be a phlebotomist, one wants to go into law enforcement and two were still undecided.

”It was really interesting to see how things work in real life hospital compared to what we see on TV,” said a student named Eduardo. “It didn’t change what I want to do. But it might have influenced which department I want to work in.”

Eduardo said he was impressed with the calmness of the way the staff in the Emergency Department went about its business compared to the chaos he sees on television when a patient comes through the ambulance bay doors. Eduardo said he was also intrigued by the thought of working in the recovery room where patients are cared for following surgery after seeing it.

Another student, Llaquelin, agreed with Edward in that the tour helped her fine tune her thoughts about where she hopes her career will lead. Seeing the nurses care for the babies in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit impressed her.

“I love babies,” Llaquelin said. “Seeing the NICU and the people who work there really makes me want to work with them.”

Later this week, the students will return to JPS to put what they learned into practice. They group will be divided into pairs going into patients’ rooms and learning first-hand how to communicate with healthcare receivers.

 “Thanks to things like what they’re doing today at JPS, they’ll have a huge head start when they go to college,” McGinley said. “We’re going to need healthcare workers in the future. And this is a great way to get them.”

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