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Connecting Kids with Health-Care Careers

Penn-Careers-in-the-CityTwo years ago, a group of HUP nurses on Ravdin 9 joined the hospital-wide Community Outreach Committee to learn about different opportunities to give back to the community. In August 2011, they did their first event: staffing an information table at a health fair hosted by the childhood church of Janelle Harris, BSN, RN, CMSRN. Their next project was a health fair at Paul Robeson High School for Human Services (PRHS). As nurses who help patients with conditions such as head and neck cancer, they focused on the effects of smoking and methods of smoking prevention. 

But they found that students weren’t asking questions about health-care topics.  “They were more interested in how we became nurses,” Harris said. Based on the significant requests for career advice -– and a Penn Medicine CAREs Foundation grant -- the group has changed its focus and will soon hold a health career fair at PRHS. “We hope to reach at least 100 students who have shown an interest in working in health care,” she said.

Understanding that a health-care career comprises many professions, “we’re pulling in all aspects of nursing, nurse practitioners, social work nursing, as well as pharmacy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and more,” she continued.

Penn-Med-CAREs-blue-newMembers of the group know they can make a difference for some of these kids, as it did for them years ago. “My parents came to America in 1982,” said Sitha Dy, MSN, RN. “We didn’t have much family around us and my parents were blue collar workers. I learned about health care and how to become a nurse at a career fair in my high school.”

“I remember in high school not knowing what I wanted to do and my friend’s mom was a nurse,” said Jaime Thomas, BSN, RN, GSPP. “I shadowed her and saw what she did and that’s why I went into nursing. Maybe meeting one of us and learning about what nurses do will make the difference.”

 

Share your health-care career with aspiring teens! The Ravdin 9 Community Outreach Team is looking for employees to participate in a career fair on May 31 at a local high school. If interested, please email melissa.kavanagh@uphs.upenn.edu by December 10.

 

Photo above: (L. to r.): Janelle Harris, Jaime Thomas, Maria Nicolas, Sitha Dy, and Jocelyn Blaisdell all participate in their unit’s community outreach events.

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