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Wilcox Medical Center hosts students for a health career fair

LIHU‘E — Wilcox Medical Center hosted more than 250 students, primarily high school juniors and seniors from Kaua‘i’s public high schools for the first Wilcox Health Career Fair on Friday morning.

“We are proud to sponsor this Health Career Fair for our public high school students,” said Jen Chahanovich, president and CEO of Wilcox Medical Center, and CEO of Kaua‘i Medical Clinic.

“Wilcox is a partner and a resource for our Kaua‘i community, and we take that responsibility to heart. By introducing young minds to the many possibilities available in the health care career field, we hope to inspire the next generation of medical professionals and show them there are opportunities for them right here at home.”

The visiting students from the health and health career pathway, or academies, of Kaua‘i, Waimea, and Kapa‘a high schools were treated to a two-hour visit that included a tour of the hospital facilities and departments.

The visit started with students having a tour through more than two dozen stations, each representing a phase of hospital operation, including the gift shop, pharmacy, and various community partners like the Kaua‘i District Health Office Public Health Nursing, and the Kaua‘i Community College Medical Assisting program.

“They never had anything like this when I was in high school,” said a Public Health Nurse who could describe the differences between a Public Health Nurse, a clinician, and more specialized Nursing positions. “I might have ended up wearing a different colored shirt.”

Victoria Mathis, of the Kaua‘i Community College Medical Assisting program, was pleased her students could handle the questions being tossed by students. She said with the increasing need for health care workers, enrollment in the program is increasing, and because there isn’t a similar program on Maui, Kaua‘i Community College is going to start a cohort program for students living on the Valley Isle.

Many of the stations included technicians in full work gear, and in the example of Environmental Services, a robot capable of disinfecting a room using ultraviolet light.

“Health career fairs like this help illustrate that those providing health care are not only nurses and doctors,” said Darla Sabry, Wilcox Medical Center’s vice president of patient services and chief nurse executive.

“They’re radiology techs, they’re people in EKG and ultrasound, they’re facilities maintenance and housekeepers. We are all on one team, and we all work together to take care of the patients. It’s important that students know that they don’t have to go to other islands, or to the mainland, to get the education needed to work in our community. There are opportunities available right now, and there will be in the future.”

Sarah Pacheco of the Hawai‘i Pacific Health, who had her communications team mingling the crowd because this was the first career fair being hosted by a HPH facility, said it was about getting students into a position that provides a living wage.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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