High school students interested in pursuing a career in the health care field are being given a unique opportunity to peek behind the scenes at the Fulton County Health Center.
Over the summer, a total of 18 aspiring health care workers attending eight high schools across northwest Ohio participated in three separate sessions of the hospital’s Health Care Camp. Held monthly, the three-hour program covered concepts such as infection control, safety, confidentiality, customer service, and Insurance 101. The students were given a tour of the medical facilities and a course in wheelchair use.
Participating school districts included Wauseon, Delta, Napoleon, Hilltop, Pettisville, Stryker, and Liberty Center, as well as Notre Dame Academy in Toledo.
Mary Gautz, FCHC coordinator of volunteers and auxiliary, and an adjunct faculty member at Jackson College in Michigan, said the camp is a path for the students to volunteerism and job shadowing. Numerous hospital staff members from various departments have offered their services as coaches, permitting the students to follow them through their day-to-day activities. The students have special access to the emergency room, labs, and the psychiatric, respiratory, and X-ray departments, among others.
“We’re doing more vocational skills, getting them ready for careers. The Health Care Camp is going to be the gateway to job shadowing at the hospital,” Gautz said.
She kicked off the free program in the spring, and plans to run a new Health Care Camp quarterly this school year, and several times next summer. It will be advertised locally and within regional school districts.
The camp participants will have the unique opportunity to see behind-the-scenes in areas of the hospital in which they have a career interest. Job shadowing will be held during times that accommodate high school schedules.
“This will be a tremendous opportunity for students who are ambitious and will reach out to staff,” Gautz said
Health Care Camp is an offshoot of a former volunteer FCHC program for high school students. In years past, they performed mostly clerical work, but did have some patient interaction. The program was discontinued as the facility became more automated and the volunteers weren’t needed.
Gautz said when she took the helm of the new program this spring she wanted to offer the students a learning experience, and give them a chance to see health care from a career perspective. The camps were held June 22, July 18, and Aug. 4, and Gautz said the students who attended seemed excited by the opportunity.
“I got the impression that many were achieving students, ambitious students who are interested in a career in the health field,” she said. Those students can now job-shadow at FCHC during the coming school year.
By opening doors to the students, the hospital also hopes to encourage those who enter the health care field to bring their skills back to their hometown.
“We hope…they would consider coming back here once they have finished school–that they could continue to build their careers here,” Gautz said. “I think their ambitions sometimes lead them away from Fulton County. We invite them to envision themselves working here as well.”
For more information, students can contact Gautz at 419-330-2695 or [email protected]
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.