Theresa Marzullo can count on at least one of her students passing out at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital every year.
One girl did so earlier this year while watching a nurse insert an IV into a patient's arm.
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It's all part of the experience of Addison Trail High School's Medical Careers program. The program, a partnership between Adventist GlenOaks Hospital and Addison Trail High School, is celebrating its 20th year of giving students real-world exposure to medical careers.
This past semester, 18 students spent three days a week at the hospital shadowing medical professionals. The remaining two days focused on learning in the classroom. Students experienced five hospital units for eight days each and earned two senior-level course credits through the program.
"So many of our graduates have gone on to successful careers in nursing and other areas of medicine," said Marzullo, the program instructor. "The opportunity to learn 'in the field' at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital is an invaluable experience."
The students shadow healthcare professionals in the following areas: physical therapy, emergency room, intensive care unit, cardiology, cardiac catheterization laboratory, medical/surgical nursing, lab medicine, phlebotomy, dietary, marketing, obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacy, radiology, respiratory care, same-day surgery and general practice.
"Being able to educate these bright students about the many healthcare careers available and sharing our own professional journeys is a humbling experience," said Stephanie Murrill, volunteer coordinator at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital.
"We are blessed to be able to give students the opportunity to get a 'behind-the-scenes' look at our state-of-the-art facility and to model our commitment to exceptional mission-focused patient care."
The curriculum covers such weighty topics as hospital codes, medical terminology, measuring vital signs, infection control, genetics, pathology, nutrition and medical ethics. Students explore educational and training qualifications, job duties, responsibilities and tasks associated with health occupations, develop an understanding of the daily operation of a modern medical center, and gain knowledge and experience that could help them decide if they want to pursue careers in medicine.
Ana Martinez, a senior at Addison Trail High School who was in the program this past semester, wants to be a nurse.
"Every day that I went to Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, I was encouraged to see how the nurses treated their patients and how well they do their jobs," Martinez said. "I want to do that, too. I want a career where I can help people and enjoy what I do."