This year, Cashton High School started a Health Careers Academy. The mission of the Health Careers Academy will be to provide opportunities for students interested in pursuing medical or health science careers. Members of the academy will participate in monthly luncheons with local health professionals, attend fields trips to explore health care facilities, research health related post-secondary programs, have the chance to volunteer at local health facilities, and will gain CPR and AED certifications.
Supporting the recruitment and development of health professionals is not just a school issue. Cashton, like many areas in the Scenic Rivers district, is a rural area. According to the Agency for Health Research and Quality (www.ahrq.gov) one-fourth of America’s populations live in rural areas and when compared to urban Americans, rural residents have higher poverty rates, tend to be in poorer health, and have less access to care. A major contributing factor to this problem is the lack of primary care physicians and other health care providers in rural areas. One way we can change this trend is to provide opportunities for current students in rural areas to learn more about the health professions. It will likely be easier to attract physicians and health care professionals to rural areas who have grown up in rural areas. Proactive programming in the middle and high school is one way identify and attract our most successfully students to enter this emerging profession and to keep their talents in the area.
This school year students have had the opportunity to meet with:
Judy Gilbertson- Vernon Memorial Volunteer and Job shadow coordinator. She provided students with an overview of Vernon Memorial, job shadowing areas, and volunteer program. Students were able to pick up applications to apply for job shadowing experiences. Nine students have taken applications.
Sherri Harris- Nurse Practitioner came and spoke with students about her education and background, her scope of practice compared to Drs., Physician assistants, credentialing, why she chose a rural setting, and where she sees a need in the future for healthcare.
Samantha Kraft- Scenic Rivers AHEC spoke with students on services she can help with such as applications for school and scholarships.
Planned upcoming events include a Pharmaceutical Representative, the HealthCare Extravaganza, and hopefully field trips to Gundersen Lutheran and Mayo Health Systems Hospitals.
A special thanks you School Nurse, Tiffany Giesler, for leading this group and to Scenic Rivers AHEC for partnering with us on this project.
If you or your child are interested in joining the Health Careers Academy please stop in the office or speak with Tiffany Giesler (ext. 229) for more information.