Imagine being a sophomore in high school and spending the day in the NICU neo-natal unit at the hospital. That’s just one of the jobs that six students from Waco High got to experience Thursday, February 2.
Thanks to a collaboration between the Waco Chamber of Commerce, Region 12 ESC and Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest, the program had its first ever “Groundhog Day Job Shadowing” event and hosted six students in as many different departments.
One of the Waco students was Hallie Morgan, who worked alongside Megan Washington, a nurse manager for one of the hospital floors.
Another student, Kevin Sifuentes, shadowed Kathy Patterson, the hospital’s blood bank supervisor and learned the ins and outs of the lab, whole blood, platelets, plasma, and more. Patterson’s department is in charge of the 300-500 units of blood needed to meet the needs of patients in Waco each month.
Destiny Acevedo had the opportunity to be in the MICU or Medical Intensive Care Unit working with Megan Holmberg. Acevedo said she learned there was a lot more math skills involved than she imagined when it comes to critical care because of patient medications, IVs, and dietary restrictions. It certainly gave her something to think about.
WHS student Marilyn Rangel spent her time with two young enthusiastic pediatric nurses, Kelsi Roberts and Jaylan Bible. The nurses sang the praises of their unit, the work they do with children, and the great working environment at BSWH. Both had plans to take advantage of the hospital’s tuition program that pays for their employees to complete even higher educational goals.
Thomas Ramirez, who we met in the NICU neonatal unit, may have been the most impacted student of the day. He spent his time with Brenda Aycock, a long time neonatal RNC-NIC in a room full of infants in incubators. She told an inspiring story of a little boy who weighed only 11 ounces at birth, but with the help of nurses and doctors that child is now home with his parents.
The final stop of the day was in the breast imaging center and a visit with Yesenia Carpio. She was able to learn from Michelle Wilson, the center manager, who explained how they spend their days helping women of all ages.
The job shadowing project coordinator at the hospital is David Blackwell, the Vice President of Operations. He hopes the job shadowing event can become a regular event with all 16 student slots filled by future healthcare practitioners.
The groundhog officially saw his shadow Thursday, but that didn’t compare with what these WHS students were able to see and experience. This new collaborative initiative, along with a group of caring hospital employees willing to share their time, compassion and skills could lead to a new career path for the students and a positive impact on our community.