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Groundhog Job Shadow Day Comes Late to BIDMC

Medical center staff host high school and college students

BOSTON - Not only did Punxsutawney Phil fail to see his shadow on February second, but Boston also got a foot of snow forcing Boston Public Schools to cancel classes and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to postpone Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

Three weeks later under more favorable conditions, a smaller but highly motivated group of high school students gave up a day of their February vacation to pair up with BIDMC staff and learn more about what it means to be a medical professional.

"I learned the difference between a translator and an interpreter. For example, an interpreter has to communicate what a patient is feeling and things like that. I learned a lot of new terms too, like health care proxy," said student, Manru Zhen, who shadowed medical interpreter, Maitoza Jascelinda. "I also learned that what they do on shows like NCIS isn't even half true."

BIDMC has hosted students on Groundhog Job Shadow Day for the past 16 years. The event is organized through the Boston Private Industry Council with the goal of connecting Boston Public School students to education and employment opportunities.

"One of our objectives on job shadow day is to engage and excite students about careers in health care," said Emily Beck, Program Administrator, Workforce Development. "When they got back from their shadow opportunity all of the students were eager to talk about what they saw, heard and observed. I knew we had met our goal when I asked who thought they might pursue a medical career and almost every hand went up."

Participants were paired with BIDMC staff from Interpreter Services, Volunteer Services, the EEG Lab, Human Resources, the CardioVascular Institute, the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Gastroenterology, where student Tonia Greene got to see a colonoscopy, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"There is a lot of waiting for babies in labor and delivery," said student Rosa Soto who shadowed Barbara Stabile, RN, Nurse Manager, Labor and Delivery in Obstetrics and Gynecology. "We were disappointed that we didn't deliver a baby while Rosa was with us," said Stabile, "but it was good to show her everything else that it takes to run a busy department." It also provided Soto the opportunity to ask about the education and experience that led Stabile to a career in OB/GYN.

The job shadow pairings gave BIDMC staff a chance to learn a thing or two from the students as well. "It was great to have Jing Quan Tan in Human Resources today," said Shannon Sweeney, Benefits Generalist, Human Resources. "He even asked a couple of questions that caused me to rethink the way we do things."

For the first time this year, BIDMC, through its Partnership Inc. program alumni, extended the job shadow experience to college students interested in medical careers.

The Partnership Inc. is a yearlong leadership program designed to help professionals of color advance their careers. BIDMC has been sponsoring employees in the program since 1990.

Partnership alums, Lisa Wong, Senior Staffing Partner, Human Resources and Stephanie Huang, Director of Development Operations, with help from colleague, Kirsten Doyle, Assistant Director of Special Events, Development, hosted Bunker Hill Community College students Rochelle Lorabello and Ilidia Canuto. Emmanuel College student Erilin Martinez split her morning. She first shadowed Kevin Hart, Practice Manger, Gastroenterology, then Linda DiCenzo, RN and Margie Stuppard, Practice Manager, Surgical Specialties.

"Since these students are bit more decisive in terms of their career paths, our group is trying to give them a true picture of the day in the life of a healthcare worker," said Stuppard. "This type of program aligns with the BIDMC Partnership alumni goals of sharing our experiences, talents and gifts with the next generation. I'm really looking forward to developing the college job shadow experience.