Oakwood hosts Health Career Explorers program

Nearly two dozen young people recently got a first-hand look at the types of careers available in the health care industry through the 2014 Health Career Explorers Program at Oakwood hospitals.

Through the four-day program in June, 20 students toured Oakwood hospitals, shadowed Oakwood staff members and gained insight into a variety of career options. This opportunity connected their interests and education to real world experience, improving their teamwork and leadership skills while helping them gain confidence in their abilities

“All of the tours of the hospital, demonstrations, activities, and lectures were super cool, fun, and informative,” said Sergio Canete, one of the participants. “I learned a lot from this program and I am also pretty sure that the rest of the students learned a lot as well.”

Tours included everything from the medical/surgical units to the intensive care units, the neonatal intensive care units, radiology and emergency departments and more. The students followed in the footsteps of Oakwood staffers, learning about their work environment and what they do every day—even participated in an incision and suture workshop with resident mentors using pigs’ feet.

Oakwood has participated in the Health Career Explorer Program for 11 years, said Sandra Schmitt, RN, manager of Nursing Development and Clinical Outreach for Oakwood Healthcare. The program helps young people get a head start in their desired profession, but it also helps Oakwood prepare the next generation of nurses, doctors, pharmacists, respiratory and physical therapists, and technicians for the education they’ll need.

“It’s about as comprehensive a look into the healthcare industry as you can get in four days,” said Schmitt. “It’s an invaluable experience for anyone who is considering a career in the healthcare industry.

“Many of our past explorers have completed their education in their chosen field and some even have come back to work for Oakwood,” she added.

The program so impressed Samhitha Sudhakar, a graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, that she intends on returning as soon as possible.

“I really enjoyed the past four days and I am so grateful for the time and effort put into making the program interesting and enriching for all of us,” she said. “After attending your program I contacted [volunteer service representative] Ms. Ebony Conner, regarding opportunities for college graduates. In the meantime I hope to be able to start volunteering at Oakwood during my weekends.”