The path to becoming a doctor or surgeon is one of the most demanding. Truth is there are many professions in the medical world, other than being a doctor, and many ways to get the experience and education needed to get those jobs.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a high school student who had such a dream had a way to get a sneak peek into the wide-ranging world of a hospital and could have a chance to talk to the professionals in those jobs night now?
There is just such a program that’s now in it’s third year at UCHealth Memorial Hospital, called the Junior Medical School Program.
Beth Konikoff is a volunteer coordinator with UCHealth Memorial who says, “The objective of the program is really to give kids who are interested in health care a really broad swath across what health care means. It doesn’t mean just being a doctor or nurse. It can also mean any of the therapies, dietary, pharmacy, and all of the thousands of people that it takes to provide health care to a community.”
The program accommodates 60 kids over the summer broken into four different three-day sessions. Beth says that over the last two years, more than 200 kids have applied for the spots and they are not for all students. “These are juniors and seniors in high school, so they really don’t have the professional student status, but they are great kids who want to pursue their careers.”
Once in the program, not only are kids exposed to different areas of the hospital and different medical professions, but they also get to talk to medical students and working professionals.
Beth says, “It helps them to understand that they’re not limited to one path. One of the most important things I think they’ve learned is from our occupational panel, people who are currently in the various careers in the hospital talk about how they got to where they are. It’s rare that it is a straight line. They learn that there are twists and turns and things that happen along the way.
As the program gives kids a healthy mindset embarking on an educational path to the medical field, it also hopes to be a springboard to a bright future for that will also help grow the next generation of caregivers.
Beth says, “One of the things that we’re hoping is that when they’re 80 years old and sitting on their porch, retired and rocking, that they say ‘you know that junior medical school really set me on my course and really helped me to understand what I needed to do to get where I wanted to go’.”
Noah Devolve is heading into his senior year of high school in Colorado Springs. Noah completed the Junior Medical School Program last summer, and now feels his dream is achievable. “I had this goal of being in medicine, but in my heart it felt almost impossible to reach. It felt like this massive mountain I had to climb to get to this massive goal.”
In our next Your Healthy Family, We’ll share more of Noah’s story, and the incredible odds he has already overcome in his life that put him on his journey into a career in medicine.
Memorial is still accepting applications for the July and August sessions, so if you’re interested and would like to apply, head to the UCHealth.org and click the volunteer link or call the volunteer services office at 719-365-5298.