Monday, May 20, 2019
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An education in health care

Approximately 1,000 public and private school students were exposed to career opportunities available in health services after participating in the recent Doctors Hospital two-day healthcare career fair.

Continuing with ongoing efforts to encourage young Bahamians to pursue careers in healthcare, Doctors Hospital held the expo for senior high school students and guidance counselors. The students got the opportunity to speak with healthcare professionals from throughout the organization, including pharmacists; operating room staff; emergency room and intensive care unit nurses; medical and imaging technologists; and physical, occupational and respiratory therapists. The interactive sessions featured live demonstrations which exposed the students to activities like responding to a code blue emergency, pharmaceutical compounding, operating room simulations and ultrasound techniques.

Charles Sealy, Doctors Hospital chief executive officer, said the private healthcare system is committed to doing its part to ensure that there is a strong talent pool of Bahamians to qualify for the many jobs available.

“Doctors Hospital is committed to maintaining its reputation as a premier healthcare facility. We’ll only be able to do that if we start investing in the next generation of medical professionals,” he said. “We see ourselves as the bridge to the future, and it is our hope that by exposing students to the latest in medical technology and some of our talented associates they will be inspired to pursue a future career in healthcare; preferably at Doctors Hospital.”

The students were excited about the knowledge gained. They had the opportunity to visit eight different booths and participate in interactive demonstrations over a two-hour period.

“This has been an eye-opening experience for me. Now I’m more aware of all the different fields available and I’m excited about becoming a pediatric nurse,” said Aquinas College student Alexae Grant.

C.R. Walker Senior High School student Tyrese Swain was enthused about the interactive presentations. “This is very good exposure. By getting to visit the different booths I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much in a short period of time. I think I’ve learned more here about healthcare than I’ve ever learned in school. You just don’t get to see this every day,” he said.

The students participating in the event also walked away with a USB drive loaded with information about the hospital, the various opportunities which exist and the educational requirements necessary to fill the various roles.

Annette Cash, Doctors Hospital’s human resources coordinator, said the hospital’s goal is to attract and retain the best talent available.

“We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that we have the staff needed to meet demand now and in the future. We started by hosting a reception for student nurses who will be entering the job market in another year or two. Then, in October we reached out to guidance counselors, who will be advising students about the various two-year and four-year programs which will qualify them for healthcare roles. Our efforts [are] aimed to get the students excited about healthcare. I think we did that, and we expect to reap the benefits in the years to come” she said.

Last month the hospital invited high school guidance counselors to a luncheon where associates representing various departments throughout the hospital explained their job functions and shared many of the exciting opportunities which exist in healthcare.

C.V. Bethel Senior High School guidance counselor Anya McIntosh, who attended the October luncheon and brought students to the recent career expo, said she was “wowed” by the experience.

“Not only has this career expo been life changing for the students but it has also enhanced my knowledge as a guidance counselor. Now I can have better conversations with the students about career choices in healthcare. For me this has been very empowering,” said McIntosh.

St. John’s College guidance counselor Luke Caley said the expo was unlike any other career fair event he has attended in the past.

“At other career fairs students are just walking around at their leisure and typically the professionals at the booths talk abstractly about the various opportunities available, but at this career expo the students got to see what the professionals do. They leave here understanding what physical therapists would do and they even got to see what’s involved with a cesarean section. Overall, I thought this was an amazing experience,” said Caley.

C.C. Sweeting  Senior High School science teacher Elsa Thompson, who also participated in the Doctors Hospital “Bridge to The Future” program which offered students and teachers free admission to the HEALinc Future Health Innovation Summit in early October, said the only thing that could have improved the event was more time.

“So much good and practical information [was] given out — information that the children are actually covering in their classes right now. I recognize that there are many schools who are participating and there are nearly 10 booths to visit. I just wish the students could have been here the entire day to really soak up all that is being offered,” she said.

The event was held at the National Training Agency. Doctors Hospital hopes to host similar events on other islands so that more students can be exposed to the career opportunities available at the hospital.

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