Students get closer look at health-care careers
Class at Massey secondary school gives students closer look at medical careers
Instead of cracking a science textbook, a class of Massey secondary school students open boxes of stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.
In this new health-care class, they are learning by doing. “Some of the stuff they teach here we don’t learn in bio,” said 17-year-old Adam Shedeed, who plans on becoming a doctor. “It’s really relevant to health care and it will help me get ahead (in university).”
One end of the classroom features hospital beds, an exam table and a few wheelchairs, much of it donated by local hospitals and health-care providers. “This course offers the fundamentals in health care,” said teacher Jeff Charron, who is also a practising chiropractor. “It allows them to have the opportunity to see first-hand if this is the type of career they want to go into.” Next door, teacher Zorica Primorac conducts another class. She used to work as a dental hygienist.
Classroom leaders must have five years of experience in the health-care field and an active teaching certificate.
They offer students a chance to learn about the skills necessary for a career as a dentist, doctor, gerontologist, lab technician, nurse, pharmacist or child-care worker.
“It’s a lot of hands-on opportunities,” said 16-year-old Huda Manfoukh, who plans to pursue a career in pediatric nursing. “The other classes, we’re learning the materials but we’re not practising it like this.”
Sharon Pyke, the superintendent for student well-being with the Greater Essex County District School Board, sat in on a class last fall.
“It’s a very interactive course,” she said. “It really gives the students a taste of what the studies will be like after high school and a sense of the skills they’ll need. “I like that they practise the skills in a collaborative fashion. That’s where health care is right now, it’s about the teamwork. It’s quite well done.”
Massey is the only local high school offering the course. Principal Joan Rankin felt it would be “a good addition” to the school’s specialist high skills major (SHSM) programming around health and wellness.
“It’s training with actual equipment and terminology,” Rankin said. “It’s very real and it’s very much what they would be doing in that field.”
Massey offered the program for the first time last year to four classes. There are now 10 classes with a strong possibility of more to come based on student demand next year.
A group of 66 students was part of a provincewide competition recently in Toronto for future health-care professionals. Grade 12 student Haiqa Arain won a gold medal for her presentation involving an eye exam. The would-be optometrist has qualified for an international competition this June in Dallas. Shedeed was part of a bronzemedal winning team along with Namashi Sivaram and Arian Pakray, who used creative problem-solving around a specific health-care initiative related to education. Two other students, Sevda Saadat and Lana Milidrag, won a silver medal in critical thinking skills related to first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Manfoukh wasn’t part of the competition but she plans to join next year when she will take the Grade 12 health-care class. “It’s all interesting,” she said. “Dr. Charron is very passionate about health care himself and it just makes you more intrigued to learn about it.”
Jeff Charron, a teacher at Vincent Massey Secondary School, watches student Salma Ghanem, left, as she takes the blood pressure of fellow student Emily Lejeune on Monday as part of a new practical health-care science class.