Transitioning out of high school can be one of the happiest, albeit stressful, times in your life. One of the major stress factors comes from career anxiety. After all, what is out there? Where do all those people go when they leave for work? How do you discover your calling? The list of questions is endless.
OSF HealthCare is trying to do its part in easing that stress. Last year, OSF partnered with the Greater Peoria Works program to offer health care internships for Peoria high school students. The internships can last for the entire school year.
While internships in health care can be a challenge to organize due to various regulations, OSF was able to start the first interns at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center Sterile Processing Department.
“Internships provide general job training and help students explore hidden careers,” said Julie Mueller, director of recruitment at OSF HealthCare. “When people think of careers in health care, they tend to focus on nurses and doctors. But there are also many clinical careers like sterile processing, surgical techs, respiratory therapy, lab positions, etc., that are also important.”
The Intern Experience
Amanda and Rochelle, both seniors at Richwoods High School, were curious about pursuing a career in healthcare and were looking for a way to experience potential careers first-hand. So they jumped at the opportunity.
The interns monitored and delivered sterile carts for various departments. They learned about job interviews, teamwork, how a hospital works and steps to take for a career in health care.
“These two students did a remarkable job and were an incredible help,” Mueller said. “We didn’t know what to expect when we started the process, but they worked out better than we could have hoped.”
“This opportunity has definitely strengthened my interest in pursuing a healthcare career, but it’s also shown me that there are more careers out there than I thought,” said Amanda, who plans on attending ICC in the fall with assistance from a Peoria Promise grant.
“I’m so excited, and this opportunity has made me more certain this is what I want to do,” said Rochelle, who was recently accepted to the pre-med program at the University of Illinois Chicago.
Future of the Internship Program
The initial program accomplished its goals. The students discovered the many career opportunities available in health care, and both students are planning on a career in health care.
“We’re excited about the success this program has had in such a short time. We plan to grow this program with other departments in the future,” Mueller said. “There are many opportunities for us to help students understand their career options.
“Partnering with the Greater Peoria Works program is a wonderful way for us to invest in the future of Peoria. And with financial help from programs like Peoria Promise, these students have a great chance to get a good start in their careers.”