Hands-on experience at Medical City Fort Worth is helping some Fort Worth ISD students see first-hand what it’s like to work in the healthcare field. Health science students from North Side High School are shadowing hospital professionals such as nurses and patient care attendants to learn about healthcare careers.
Abigail Kawas, a junior in North Side’s health science technology program, is among the students participating in the program at Medical City Fort Worth, formerly Medical City Fort Worth. Kawas has been observing in the emergency room and learning about the hospital’s sepsis program this semester. Her experiences in the program are reaffirming her plans to attend college to become a surgical nurse.
“It’s reassuring because I’ve gotten to interact with a lot of people so far,” Kawas says. “And it’s really made me want to come into this field.”
“Texas is facing a future shortage of healthcare professionals – particularly nurses – so it’s important for us to encourage students to consider healthcare careers,” Medical City Fort Worth Chief Nursing Officer Lynn O’Neill says. “By 2030, the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies estimates that Texas will be 60,000 nurses short of what is needed to meet healthcare demands. As a teaching hospital, we are pleased to be able to partner with our local schools to help train the healthcare providers of the future.”
Vanessa Cantu-Barrera, Fort Worth ISD coordinator for career and technical education, says the district has four campuses with the health science technology program and offers various certification opportunities.
“We want students to see different aspects of the medical field so they can determine for themselves what direction they want to go – whether it’s to go to work right away and build relationships with our program partners – like a hospital, or go to college and study in that field,” Cantu-Barrera says.
Cari Morisette, health science technology teacher at North Side High School, says community healthcare partners, like Medical City Fort Worth, are key to the program’s success.
“We couldn’t offer this program without hospital participation,” Morisette says. “The students get to see what happens in a hospital setting, what kinds of patients they take here and all the steps and procedures they have to do. It’s amazing what they are able to see and do here. Some are doing patient care on the hospital floor, working with a PCA (patient care assistant) doing things like taking vital signs and delivering food trays. We have one student with the sepsis coordinator, learning all about that, how they find signs and symptoms of it and how they can detect it. We have a student in the Admissions department and another in the ER. The kids are so excited. They can’t wait to come because they are learning a lot and getting good experiences.”