High School Students Get Hands-On Medical Training at HCMC
Jewell Figueroa has a summer job that’s more than just working at the mall.
“Six, seven, eight…” she counted chest compressions on a demonstration model human torso, surrounded by other high school students on Monday morning.
“…Eight, nine, ten…”
The Maple Grove High School senior is one of dozens of students from across the Twin Cities taking part in the six-week Talent Garden internship inside Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis.
“I don’t want to be behind a desk, I don’t want to just like have a desk, or do nothing, be boring for my life,” said Figueroa. “I want to help people.”
The program pays the students to basically shadow every department within the sprawling hospital–and clinics around the metro–for a chance to get hands-on, up-close experience in the medical field.
“This gives me shadowing doctor hours, I’m able to put that on (college applications). Most high school students don’t have that,” she said. “Shadowing in the (emergency department). I even think I get a day in the NICU.”
Her colleague, Mahad Arif, a rising senior at Blaine High School, said this summer has been an invaluable introduction to the medical field.
“I think health care is something I’m interested in pursuing,” said Arif. “I’m still deciding on what I want to do in terms of like do I want to see the blood and guts or do I want to do the clinical side of it?”
Arif said he’s becoming more interested in medical ethics and he was even able to tailor one of his daily sessions to that to learn more.
“Colleges now are taking a more holistic approach, and I feel like this does give me more of a leg up,” he said. “I think I’m good at helping people. I’m more solution-driven, and I feel like I would be helpful in that sector of the job force.”
The Talent Garden program offers Saturday sessions to draw interested students in and introduce them to the program, and then they are encouraged to apply for the summer program, now in its second year, organizers said.
The participants are also able to test for possible certification as emergency medical responders. They would be eligible to work alongside EMTs at large public events like concerts or Vikings games.