Every year Mitchell high schoolers participate in internships and job placement programs looking for some guidance along their career paths. Avera Queen of Peace is taking those internships a step further by encouraging and equipping the next generation of care-givers.
Many folks in the Mitchell area remember Matt Henriksen as the standout basketball player for the Mitchell Kernels. But those who made a trip to Avera Queen of Peace in the last year, will remember Matt in a different uniform.
Thanks to the World of Work program, Matt spent a semester working in the hospital's surgical unit.
"The stuff that I got to see and do really helped make my decision and go into this career." Said Henriksen.
The World of Work program has been apart of the Mitchell High School curriculum for the past two decades. Program coordinator Travis Carpenter says over those years, Avera Queen of Peace has offered dozens of students an opportunity unlike any other.
"They take somewhere between Five to ten kids every year and for those kids to get into the hospital and see what that's like is just outstanding and they get to see what that medical field is all about." Said Carpenter.
But it's not just a job shadowing program, students get a hands on experience and the hospital treats it like an actual job.
"I was pretty much a staff assistant going around, going to rooms. Toward the end of my shift I'd go take people's vitals. Like I said hands on, getting around doing stuff." Said Henriksen.
For three hours a day, Matt was responsible for patient cares and assisting hospital staff. Surgical director Angie McCain says many times kids will go off to college and find out the path they've chosen isn't for them. Even medical students have a hard time choosing a specialty. World of Work helps bring a little bit of clarity to those life changing decisions.
"Recently we had a student that was interested in several areas including pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, and nursing along with physical therapy. So that student went to all those areas and selected the career path that fit them best." Said McCain.
but for Matt, the decision to go into nursing was an easy one. His interest in the field goes back to the sixth grade when his mom was injured in a car accident.
"Seeing how the nurses in the emergency room in Sioux Falls took care of her that's where I started wanting to go into the medical field, I want to be there to help people." Said Henriksen.
Matt's internship may have ended, but he's hoping to follow in the footsteps of other students who also spent a semester or two walking the halls of the third floor.
"We've been able to hire a lot of students back in the nursing position and that's what our hope is for Matt." Said McCain.
"I'm at Dakota Wesleyan University and they've got nursing there and I guess I'll be back next year, so you better watch out!" Said Henriksen.
Matt says the World of Work program definitely solidified his decision to become a nurse, now he just has to decided on a specialty.
For more information about the World of Work and other programs at Avera Queen of Peace just call 877-AT-AVERA