Sitting in a conference room at Scott Memorial Hospital, a group of more than 20 Scott County high school juniors and seniors shared their stories about what interested them in applying to the hospital’s Medical Explorers program.
Austin High School junior Caileigh Pryor was one of them.
“I am looking to pursue a career in medicine,” said Pryor, who wants to become a cardiologist after high school. “I signed up for this program for a better understanding of the medical field in general.”
Pryor became interested in medicine when her younger cousin was born premature and had heart problems when she was an infant. Today, her cousin is nine years old.
“[Doctors] can make miracles out of the worst possibilities out there,” Pryor said.
The Scottsburg High School, Austin High School, and Grace Christian Academy students selected for the Medical Explorers program will meet with the department director or staff members from the medical surgical unit, intensive care unit, emergency department, physicians’ offices, surgery department, lab department, radiology department, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiology department, obstetrics department, nursing, and pharmacy, said Doug Lee, business development manager at Scott Memorial Hospital.
“They will learn a little bit more about the departments and what they offer,” Lee said. “Our hope next year is to add the business office — a few of the other offices — and physical therapy to accommodate students.”
As part of the program, the students will meet each month at the hospital and spend about two hours learning about each department, visiting a different department each visit. At the end of the program in May, a graduation banquet will be held, and the students will receive a letter of recommendation from the hospital.
“There is a huge need in health care,” said Michael Everett, chief executive officer at Scott Memorial Hospital, to the students. “Not all health care positions are alike. It all starts with that basic call to the heart: Do you want to help someone?”
“Nursing is in high demand,” said Dawn Mays, chief nursing officer at Scott Memorial Hospital. “I love what I do.”
With the Medical Explorers program, Lee hopes students will learn where they fit into the health care community and figure out what they want to do when they graduate. A similar program benefited his son, who is now an emergency room doctor in Cincinnati.
“We have some of the most amazing people here. We’re a team. We’re a family,” Lee said. “You can talk to the people in the lab, the nurses, the doctors. You can get a feel of what it’s like to be working in a hospital. My hope is when they’re through this as seniors we’ll be able to assist them.”
Scottsburg High School senior Toni Owens hopes the Medical Explorers program will help her with just that — figuring out where she wants to be in the health care community.
“I know I wanted to go to the medical field, but I didn’t know where. This is the perfect opportunity for that. I am looking at becoming a nurse, a nurse practitioner or a surgeon,” Owens said.