Medical Careers Program Gives Life-long Lessons to Future Healthcare Professionals
- Crozer-Keystone’s Medical Careers Program, which pairs Crozer-Keystone Health System and the Delaware County Technical Schools (DCTS) to allow high school seniors to observe a real-world healthcare setting while studying an intensive curriculum of anatomy, medical terminology and more.
- Each class comprised of 11 students on average, from local high schools such as Ridley, Strath Haven, Springfield, Interboro, Chichester and Academy Park.
- Students must apply to the program as juniors and are then interviewed for the program. All students who apply must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 with no disciplinary infractions and good attendance.
Katie Bostwick is one of hundreds of students who have graduated from Crozer-Keystone’s Medical Careers Program, which pairs Crozer-Keystone Health System and the Delaware County Technical School (DCTS) to allow high school seniors to observe a real-world healthcare setting while studying an intensive curriculum of anatomy, medical terminology and more.
“I’ve always been interested in the healthcare profession, but never had a chance to really learn much about it in my high school classes,” says Bostwick, who enrolled in the Medical Careers Program while attending Chichester High School. “My guidance counselor told me about the program, and I applied and got in. It was the perfect opportunity for me—it gave me a chance to learn about healthcare professions from actual healthcare workers in their career.”
“The program, which is held through Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Taylor Hospital, is currently entering into their seventh and eighth years,” says Denise Kossuth, R.N., B.S.N., an employee of Delaware County Technical Schools who serves as the program’s instructor and moderator at Taylor Hospital. “Students can be interested in a variety of healthcare-related fields because the program gives a really substantial overview of many career options. With the help of the staff at Crozer and Taylor, students are given the opportunity to observe hospital professionals who have been in the field for several years.”
The class curriculum is split into two parts. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the students spend classroom time learning such topics as anatomy and physiology, disease process, medical legalities and ethics, safety and infection control, medical abbreviations and terms, first aid and CPR (including certification), patient care skills (such as taking temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, height and weight), hand-washing, body mechanics and more. The students also learn bedside skills, including changing patient gowns, bed-making, feeding, transferring patients from a bed to a wheelchair, wheelchair safety, and the importance of the use of personal protective equipment.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students spend time in the hospital setting, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge by shadowing a member of the hospital staff. Students at both hospitals rotate through all nursing units, as well as the Operating Room, Pharmacy, Radiology, Respiratory Therapy, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Intensive Care Unit, Short Procedure Unit, the Laboratory, Social Work and Emergency Department.
“Students from Taylor can also join the Crozer students to rotate through the Crozer Regional Cancer Center, Maternity and Pediatric units,” says Rosemary Barakat, R.N., Medical Careers instructor at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “The Crozer students have also joined the students at Taylor to learn how to suture with Dr. Cuculino, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Taylor Hospital. The students from both classes also join forces to complete their CPR and First Aid certification classes at Crozer. Bringing the classes together gives the students the opportunity to have a well-rounded experience in all units and hospital settings.”
“This program is offered to seniors at all of the high schools in Delaware County, public and parochial,” says Eugene Zegar, CKHS vice president of Human Resources, who was instrumental in bringing the program to Crozer-Keystone. “There are two classes offered every day with an average class size of 11 students. The morning class is from 7 to 9 a.m. and the afternoon class from noon to 2 p.m. The high schools can choose which class to send their students. Most of our students come from local high schools such as Ridley, Strath Haven, Springfield, Interboro, Chichester and Academy Park.”
Students must apply to the program as juniors and are then interviewed for the program. All students who apply must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 with no disciplinary infractions and good attendance.
One hundred percent of the graduates from last year’s class will be attending college this year. Eight of the students were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society, and eight others were awarded the Taylor Community Foundation scholarship, which is a $10,000 scholarship awarded over four years. The total scholarship earnings for last year’s graduating class of 64 students will be approximately $2.3 million over the course of the next four to six years.
Bostwick, who graduated from the program in 2008, is currently a junior in Alvernia University’s nursing program. She also works for Crozer-Keystone as a patient care technician when she is home from school. “The clinical aspect of the class is what really prepared me for my position with Crozer-Keystone and my nursing school classes. It was a great learning experience to interact with and shadow professionals who are already in the medical field,” Bostwick says.
“One of the most important benefits of this program is that it teaches the students how to communicate in the work place,” adds Kossuth. “Although it may be a little intimidating for them at first, the students are placed in a stressful work environment of doctors, nurses and other clinicians who are taking care of actual patients in an actual hospital setting. Because of this, they have to communicate with the staff as to who they are, what they would like to do, and what they would like to learn from the experience. Learning how to communicate like that at such a young age can be a life-long lesson.”
For more information about the Medical Careers Program, contact Sue Baker at Crozer at (610) 447-6301 or Allen McMillin at Taylor at (610) 595-6066. Those interested can also contact Delaware County Technical Schools at (610) 583-7620.