Technical education gives students insight into health careers

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Technical education gives students insight into health careersAs seniors prepare to move on to the next phase of their lives following tonight’s commencement ceremonies, the 36 students in Sadie Nutter’s Health Careers classes at Burroughs High School will be carrying forward valuable information they learned about their industries they followed for the last nine months.

“Health careers really covers a broad spectrum. People think of medical offices or hospitals, but health is something that touches so many facets of our lives. And because of that, I try and share each of those pieces with my students,” said Nutter.

Her classload is divided up into two double-length periods at BHS. While the students spend a lot of time with classroom instruction and discussions, each also spends 90 hours per semester at their chosen sites — some of which include Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Liberty Ambulance, local child-development centers, acupuncture centers, yoga studios, skin-care spas and more.

“I feel really fortunate to have so many professional people in our community who support this program, and I’m glad the students get a variety of options to choose from.”

“The biggest thing I learned was how to be patient,” said Makaila Constant, who cited the volumes of medical terminology and codes she was required to memorize for the course.

“I think I learned that I want to be a preschool teacher,” said Jenna Charlon, who spent her time at one of the local child-development centers. “I never knew how fun it was to work with kids that age.”

Conversely, Larissa Hernandez’ time at her professional-development site gave her pause in her initial inclination toward nursing. “There were parts of it that I liked, but it was really different from what I was expecting.

“I really didn’t realize how little time you actually get to spend with each patient.”

Then there were the group activities that the class participated in, like the seemingly universal favorite yoga class taught by Angela Cooper.

“We should do it again right before finals, just to make sure we are relaxed,” one student called out during a recent interview.

Nutter said one thing she was most proud of was her students being invited by Dr. Heather Starnes to help with a data-collection project in local parts.

“Data collection is important for any scientific field, and for many college classes, so this is a really great opportunity for them,” said Nutter.

Students attended local parks to assess the activity and engagement levels of children interacting with local playground equipment. That information was passed along to Dr. Starnes.

“This is something that is usually done by college students, so these kids should be proud of themselves,” said Nutter.

“I know the counselors don’t necessarily know what this course is about, so I think some of the kids enroll not really knowing what they are getting into.”

“It’s a lot more work than you think!” one student confirmed.

But, said Nutter, “We have a lot of fun, too. And you can sign up for the course to qualify as college credit, which is great for high-schoolers.”

Students also accumulate a set of real-world skills that can give them an edge in both continuing education and in the workforce.

Most of all, “I think it’s great for the kids to get exposure to what kind of careers are out for them, and how to get on a path that will lead them where they want to go.”

Pictured: Sadie Nutter (center) with some of her Health Careers students. -- Photo by Rebecca Neipp

Story First Published: 2017-06-02