“Talking with my grandmother, who is a nurse, influenced my decision to go into healthcare. Participating in the Clinical Observation class offered through State College Area High School’s Health Profession Program enabled me to get a firsthand look at the profession everyday at Mount Nittany Medical Center,” said Rebecca Domico, now a sophomore nursing student at The Pennsylvania State University. “The experience solidified my decision to become a nurse and realize the profession was perfect for me.”
To be considered for the Clinical Observation class, interested students at State College Area High School must meet the stated prerequisites – a 3.5 grade point average among them – and must undergo a rigorous application and interview process. After reviewing the candidates, the admission committee accepts 12 students each year.
The students will rotate to a different department every week of the school year in order to better understand various career choices as experienced in a medical setting.
“There are countless departments and positions within the healthcare field that most people do not realize. The class familiarizes students with almost all of the available occupations to help them decide on a career path and receive early training before they enter college,” said Maryanne Neal, RN, BSN, health professions instructor.
The class has been giving students this valuable opportunity since it was created three years ago; in that time, it has helped many navigate their initial exposure to working in healthcare.
“Most people their age have not had any real experience in healthcare before this class, so it also shows certain students that they do not want to work in this field. This class allows them to change their career sooner rather than later,” said Neal.
Mount Nittany Medical Center staff members play a critical role in allowing students to shadow them during their rotations to help them identify the profession that’s ideal for them.