Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance is teaming with two local school districts to provide real-world experiences for our community’s kids.
|Audio: Lisa Ham and Kitty Poehler talk more about their school districts' partnerships with Teaxs Health Alliance.
Texas Health Alliance’s partnerships with Keller and Northwest ISDs began nearly two years ago. The vision for this strategic community outreach started with Melissa Reichardt, director of Community Integration and Business Health Services at Texas Health Alliance, who foresaw a growing need for a workforce passionate about community health.
“As the need for health care professionals increases, we wanted to invest in the upcoming generation and inspire them to consider careers in health services,” Reichardt says. “These partnerships with our local school districts not only expose children to the ins and outs of working in the medical field, but also allow students to integrate their classroom learning with hands-on experience.”
Instructing and Inspiring
As part of Texas Health Alliance’s partnership with Keller and Northwest ISDs, high school students enrolled in the school districts’ health science programs participate in semester-long clinical rotations at the hospital. Students shadow nurses and physicians in every major department, including surgery, radiology and pharmacy. Each student spends three to four days a week at the hospital, rotating through a new department every one to two weeks.
During these rotations, students have the opportunity to learn the basic job responsibilities of various health care professionals, interact with patients and get a behind-the-scenes look at the hospital. Since the clinical rotations began earlier this year, Lisa Ham, director of Career Technical Education at Keller ISD, says the program has the potential to make a big impact.
“Getting to see the health sciences at work brings the students’ learning to life in a way textbooks can’t,” Ham says. “The school district’s hope is that our students will gain the basic skills they need to pursue further education in health care if they so choose. Being able to include real clinical experience on a nursing or medical school application gives these students a serious leg up.”
“Our partnership with Texas Health Alliance benefits students in our medical academy, as well as students in our technology, fine arts and architecture programs,” adds Kitty M. Poehler, PHR, executive director of Personnel Services at Northwest ISD. “Building on our relationship with the hospital will continue to encourage our students to grow, both academically and personally.”