Job Shadow Day at BIDMC
BIDMC hosted 27 students from the John D. O'Bryant and New Mission high schools in Roxbury Friday, Jan. 30, as part of the 14th annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day offering career insights to area high school students.
The BIDMC event is a partnership between the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Private Industry Council.
Students were paired with BIDMC staff members to "shadow" professionals in various medical center jobs such as Nursing, Surgery, Interpreter Services, Radiology, and Administration.
Ken Souza, a Cast Technologist in Orthopaedics, hosted three students from O'Bryant High School. One of his students, Jessica Edouard, was a return visitor from last year's BIDMC job shadow day where she got a first-hand look at the job of a medical center Interpreter with Fernanda Fernandez, Interpreter Services. This year, Edouard had the opportunity to feel what it was like to have a cast put on her arm as Souza demonstrated the art and science of cast-making by putting the layers of gauze and molding on Edouard's right hand. While applying the removable cast Souza explained the precise angles at which the hand needs to be for proper healing.
After the students completed the day with their hosts, they assembled for lunch and a discussion of what they had seen and learned. Stories ranged from accounts of the small preemie babies in the NICU to shock that a patient could be fed through a tube. One student even got to witness a Cyberknife procedure.
When asked if they would consider working in a hospital or healthcare field almost half the students raised their hands. For some, this experience solidified an already existing interest in a medical career - as it did for Douglas Skyers, a senior at O'Bryant High School. Skyers said he knows he wants to be a surgeon but is still considering specialties. In addition to confirming a career choice, Skyers also took away another important lesson from the shadow experience.
"I learned that communication is always key," Skyers said, "Everyone needs to work together and I also learned that it's good to have an open mind and listen to your patients."
Carolyn Urena from New Mission High School was scared of sick patients before her job shadow experience. After spending a few hours with her host Asha Kasaraneni, MS, RD, LDN, CNSD, she quickly got over that fear. Kasaraneni is a transplant nutritionist and during her visits with patients Urena saw how technology, such as a dialysis machine, was helping some of the patients waiting for transplants.
"I also didn't know you could feed a patient through a tube or that a machine could actually breathe for a patient," said Urena.
Urena's host said it was a great experience for her as well.
"It's interesting to hear their perspectives on what we do," said Kasaraneni, "I wish I had something like this when I was in school."
After hearing some of their job shadow stories, Bill Rawlinson, Assistant Director, Boston Private Industry Council, told the students that this is an experience that could have a great impact on their lives.
"Even if you don't want to pursue a career in this field you've had the opportunity to shadow someone who is successful in what they do," said Rawlinson. "If nothing else, you can adopt the traits you saw in them into what you want to do in your careers."
BIDMC has been participating in Job Shadow Day since it began fourteen years ago and the program keeps growing each year. This year's group of 27 students was up considerably from last year's 20 - and the 12 from in 2007.
"We see more and more interest each year from both the students who are ready to learn and the BIDMC employees who are eager to teach," said Emily Beck, Workforce Development Specialist, who helped organize this event.
Beck says this is also a great opportunity to tell the students about the summer internship program at BIDMC. The guidance counselor from O'Bryant High School was present while the students talked about their experiences and said she would likely be getting a lot of requests from the students about this come Monday morning.