Avera Medical Minute AMcK: High school students exposed to health care professions

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As our state and region’s demographics change and get older, the need for more health care services increases. That also means the need for more health care workers increases.

“Here at Avera, we’re working to expose high school students to many careers in health care,” said Pam Hilber, director of workforce planning at Avera Health.

Growing up, we often associate health care with just doctors and nurses, but Hilber wants young people to know that health care is much larger.

“There’s many places that they can contribute. I may touch a patient or I may support the people who touch a patient. And there’s a place for almost everyone in health care and we’re going to frankly need everybody in health care in the future,” said Hilber.

“It’s really awesome being able to get this hands on experience early and getting the knowledge early,” said Braydon Mallett, Brookings High School senior.

Mallett is a member of the international student organization HOSA. Its mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be in the medical field but I don’t really know what I want to do in it -- so getting to all these different things kind of helps me to solidify what I want to do,” said Mallett.

Hilber wants students like Mallett to see firsthand everything health care has to offer. She says while registered nurses will always be in demand, health care also needs people with technical degrees to support us in the future.

“For an example, a critical need for us in the future would be surgical technicians. So as people age and they need new joints and hips and orthopedics takes off, we’re going to need more people to assist those surgeons,” said Hilber.

Hilber says there’s also a place in health care for people with high school diplomas. They can receive on-the-job training for such positions as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).

“Once you’re hired, you can be trained and certified on the job and that’s a very rewarding career taking care of our geriatric populations and folks with special needs,” said Hilber.

“I just really want to help people. And since I was five, my step-dad and mom have been telling me that I’m going to be the kid to cure cancer -- so that just kind of motivates me to keep going and to work hard,” said Mallett.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.