An Insider's Look at Healthcare Careers

I’m a nurse with Genesis HealthCare System and a New Lexington Schools Business Advisory Council member. As a council member, I visit schools to talk to students about healthcare careers, and I offer students workplace tours and job shadow experiences to show them there’s more to healthcare than many of them know.

When I give a tour, I take the kids around the building and have people from all departments talk to them about careers and the required schooling. That gives students a better idea of what they might want to do after high school. Students can also choose a one-on-one job shadow experience with different departments to understand what a job entails. Currently, our job shadowing focuses on high school students, but we hope to expand to middle schools so that younger students have more time to think about careers.

We’ve also partnered with the school district to work with high school phlebotomy students. After students do some academic work at their school—learning anatomy and practicing on a phlebotomy training arm—they come into the hospital and work side-by-side with Genesis phlebotomists to complete the required number of successful sticks on live people for their certification. That’s more than job shadowing; that’s doing the job with somebody to guide them.

Our phlebotomists work with students on their technical and communication skills. A lot of this career involves explaining the procedure and knowing what to say to help patients who are afraid of needles. This on-the-job education is valuable.

For students who complete the program and earn their certification, we’re working on being able to employ them as phlebotomists for local nursing facilities. Phlebotomy is a good entryway to other healthcare careers. After working with Genesis for a year, students are eligible for tuition reimbursement from Genesis for a nursing degree, so they graduate with minimal to no student debt. If they don’t want to enter nursing, they could try a position such as patient transport or radiology technician. There are many opportunities.

The school district is open to council members’ input and help to guide the career pathway programs they offer students. We’ve recently discussed an opportunity to remodel a campus building as a clinic. Genesis provided input about the rooms and equipment needed to offer x-rays and other services.

This type of partnership between local employers and schools through business advisory councils is key for the future. Businesses struggling with employee recruitment and retention can help shape the incoming workforce, and we can give kids a sense of purpose for their future and help keep talent in our local communities. It’s a win-win-win.

–Jason Adams, RN, BSN, manager, Genesis Perry County Emergency Department; member, New Lexington Schools Business Advisory Council

American Educator, Spring 2024