Exposing teens to medical fields through new high school class

There is high demand for health professionals like nurses, surgical or lab technicians,  physical or respiratory therapists, and pharmacists. Paducah Tilghman High School has partnered with Baptist Health Paducah to give their students an inside look at those careers.

Students walk to the hospital from the school every Monday through Friday and learn basic health care skills using medical equipment, as well as shadow working health professionals.

"(They learn about) the different opportunities in health care, but also insurance and those kind of very complex issues," Nurse and teacher Kelly Watkins said.

Watkins says she loves coaching the students through firsts in the health world. "To see the looks in their eyes sometimes just with taking a pulse, or listening to a blood pressure," Watkins said.

The health occupations class has been around, but this is the first year it’s in a hospital.

Senior Nyla Blue says she’s always wanted to be a nurse, and the scrubs they wear in class make her feel like one.

"It’s a lot different…it’s a hands on experience. You see more things than you would in the classroom," Blue said.

By exposing students to different medical professions it also helps them narrow down their choices.     

"Hearing what it’s like, and  seeing it in reality is something that is very significant," Watkins said.

By the end of the school year, students will be able to take a test to certify as nursing assistants. Baptist Health also sees this as a way to find long-term recruits that can help encourage more students to choose to stay in the community to work. 

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