A pair of Clarinda High School students recently completed a unique look into the operation of Clarinda Regional Health Center.
Clarinda sophomores Arin Eberly and Sarah Tunnicliff participated in a job shadowing program at the hospital from March 30 through May 6. The students visited the hospital for two hours each Tuesday and Thursday to observe the duties of a variety of departments at the facility.
Although the hospital offers its Voluteer program where students can do job shadowing over the summer, Director of Clinics Amy Roop said it did not have a program set up for students to participate in during the school year. However, after Eberly and Tunnicliff spoke with Linda VandenBosch about their interest in healthcare, the opportunity was arranged.
Roop said the initiative the students showed in reaching out to their instructor about their interests was a significant factor in the hospital developing this type of program.
“Some people have been amazed at all the things we’ve done, but you just have to ask,” Tunnicliff said. “It was really a great opportunity for us. Not many people get this chance.”
“I’m a little unsure of what I want to go to college for. So this was a nice way to explore some career options and see what different paths I could take in the medical field,” Eberly said.
During the program the two students spent the first hour of their day with a different provider at the new mental health facility operated by CRHC. Then, the second hour of the day was spent observing the departments within the hospital. Those departments included the medical clinic, the specialty clinic, the medical surgical department, the emergency room, the laboratory, the surgery department, radiology, the physical therapy department and the wound care department.
However, since the students would be interacting with patients during the program, Roop said they underwent HIPA training before starting. The activities Eberly and Tunnicliff participated in also required the permission of any patients involved.
Prior to the start of the program, Tunnicliff was already curious about the medical field. She said this program only solidified that interest.
“I really enjoyed being able to see so many different areas. All the different people we’ve met here were so supportive of it,” Tunnicliff said.
Eberly agreed the staff she interacted with at the hospital were highly supportive and were willing to answer any questions she had. “They made it personal,” she said.
As an example, when the students visited the specialty clinic, Eberly said Stacy Pulliam gave Eberly her card and offered to assist her in the future.
“That just really proved to me how supportive everyone around here will be,” Eberly said.
Tunnicliff said one of the highlights of the program for her occurred on their first day when they visited the medical clinic. She observed two nurses at the clinic that shared a wealth of knowledge with her.
“They just told me everything I wanted to know and answered the questions I had. I was also able to sit in on a patient visit,” Tunnicliff said. “I was just really happy that day. I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life.”
Besides learning from the staff at CRHC, Tunnicliff said she and Eberly were able to learn from the patients they came in contact with during the program.
“When we went to the lab there was a gentleman that had some rare blood condition. He taught us a lot about that and I had never known it was a thing,” Eberly said.
Looking back on their opportunity, the students agreed it was a unique experience that allowed them to learn about aspects of the medical field they were otherwise unfamiliar with. As a result, they felt the experience would allow them to make a more informed decision when selecting a career path.
“I think this has brought up a lot of career interests for me. But, also, it’s given me a good basis for what a beginning internship position might look like for any job,” Eberly said.
“If I do go into the medical field, I know what my daily life would be like. It’s going to influence my decisions,” Tunnicliff said.
Meanwhile, Roop said the experience was a positive one for the hospital as well. Based on the success of this program, she said Clarinda Regional Health Center would consider offering a similar job shadowing program in the future if interested students come forward.
“Our departments love to have students come in, especially at such a young age, and expose them to different field in healthcare. There are so many inner departments in a hospital that a lot of people don’t even realize exist or think about as being a profession. We love to show those departments off. There are some departments, like the lab field, that have such huge shortages right now, that if we can expose students and spark an interest in one of those fields, it’s great for us in the future as well,” Roop said.