If you knew what you know now when you were in high school, would you still have chosen the same career path? Juniors and seniors at O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls are getting the chance of a lifetime, one most of us never had growing up and that is to be inside the operating room watching surgery or shadowing a Vice President. A partnership between Avera McKennan and O'Gorman is allowing 103 students to shadow anyone they want on campus for a day, in the hopes they'll chose a healthcare career in a few years.
Most of us have watched from the outside as the new Avera Cancer Institute, the largest construction project in the history of Sioux Falls has gone up, but thanks to the Career Exploration Program some students are getting to see the work being done from the inside.
Ellen Ingebrigtson is a senior at O'Gorman High School and is spending the day as Dick Molseed's shadow. Dick is the Senior Vice President of Environmental Services at Avera McKennan and Ellen already knows she wants to go into health services. When she found out about the Career Exploration Program offered to anatomy students at O'G she jumped at the chance to get a foot in the door.
Ellen says, "I'm better at the business aspect so to be able to shadow (an administrator) gives us a good opportunity for those who don't know or for people who do know to find out if that is what they want to do."
This program is also part of the state-wide effort by the South Dakota Department of Health to encourage students to look at careers in health which is the fastest growing field in the country and in South Dakota.
Ann McKay Thompson is the Director of Workforce Development at Avera McKennan. She says, "The need for healthcare workers is going to dramatically increase very soon with the baby boomers now coming in to the system and a lot of people getting ready to retire. It's a way to keep the workforce development pipeline coming in to a hospital that needs it."
Ellen says, "It's definitely a great opportunity and it's amazing to do it because had I not taken anatomy class I wouldn't have gotten to do this. It's a great opportunity. It's really cool."
Ann McKay Thompson says, "One student a few days ago was in the transplant area and got to see a transplant performed. What high school student got to see that, 10 years ago?"
Being in health administration is like running a small city, and thanks to this one on one experience with someone who does that job, Ellen is pretty confident she wants to do that too one day down the road.
Besides the 2 week Career Exploration Program with O'Gorman, Avera McKennan does offer 400 additional shadow spots for any high school student year round.