Centennial High medical academy students learn hands-on at Martin Health Systems

Each week for the last twelve years, Medical Academy students from St. Lucie West Centennial High School have had the privilege of spending part of their school day at Martin Health Systems-St. Lucie West.  The variety of health professions which they can shadow and glean career information from is unending.  For instance, pictured is Dr. Steven Parr, Martin Health System’s ER physician, instructing medical academy students in examination techniques in the Emergency Room of Martin Health Systems- St. Lucie West.  From left, are Dr. Parr, student-patient, Reinaldo Ramos, and students Marissa Russo and Jo Jo Corsi.

Students throughout high schools in the United States may now take a Career and Technical Education program track, which allows the students in high school to take elective classes on medical career topics.  The programs in Florida model what the co-curricular student organization HOSA or Health Occupations Students of America and the Florida Department of Education have created as a series of classes to start the student out learning about anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, topics such as body mechanics, bloodborne pathogens, infection control, medical errors, and information about the many medical careers and the education needed for each career.  Once the student has gone through these courses, they may also take electives which gain them industry certifications in areas like Certified Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide, EKG Technician, Administrative Medical Assisting, and First Responder, to name a few. 

Students at St. Lucie West Centennial High School must demonstrate initiative, maturity, and responsibility before they are offered the opportunity to spend valuable class time at Martin Health- St. Lucie West.  Debbie Markey, the manager at the facility, assists the teachers at Centennial High with preparing the students for a quality experience.  She gets all of the departments on board with the needs of the students and then orients the students and discusses the importance of confidentiality and HIPAA laws.  The students are transported to the facility by SLC school transportation and they are directly supervised by their teachers, both of whom are nurses, Elizabeth Durkee and Mary Higgins.  While at the facility, students are assigned individually to a mentor in some area of Martin Health-St. Lucie West. Participating students are juniors and seniors in high school who have had the immeasurable opportunity to spend time in the lab, radiology, mammography, CT scan, nuclear medicine, pulmonary lab, MRI, PT, OT, registration, numerous primary care and specialty care physician’s offices, wound care, medical records, and finally, in the new ER.  The staff welcomes the students and makes them feel as if they are part of the staff.  For this the students and their teachers are eternally grateful. 

So if you visit Martin Health-St. Lucie West, watch for a young, fresh-faced student in their crisp navy scrubs and imagine, this could be your health care provider in the future!