Exploring health care

UPHS Program set to teach students about health care fields

Participants in a national Exploring program learn about nursing. Upper Peninsula Health Systems - Marquette is launching a local health care career exploration program for students 14 to 20 years old on Wednesday. This month's subject is radiology, but the UPHS Health Care Exploring Program will offer insight into a different career field each month. (Courtesy photo Exploring.org)

MARQUETTE – “What are you going to be when you grow up?” A common question asked of young children becomes more and more serious as high school graduation nears.

Upper Peninsula Health System – Marquette is helping students to decide with its Health Care Exploring Program.

Students aged 14 to 20 are invited to learn about careers in radiology, the subject of this month’s HCEP, on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at UPHS Marquette.

Renee Brundin, Director of Imaging, will give students a first-hand look at UPHS Radiology, x-ray and computed tomography or CT facilities.

UPHS Regional Physician Services Vice President Frances Finley said the program started two months ago to get students interested in health care fields and help those already interested to learn more about each field.

“The whole idea is for students to be exposed to and understand what health care careers they may want to go into,” Finley said. “Each month students will get to spend time with an expert and get hands-on experience in that field.”

Finley said there is a new topic every month for the program, which is the first one of its kind in the area.

“Last month we met at the dome at the (NMU) Olympic Training Center. We got to learn what exactly does an athletic trainer do,” Finley said. “I learned things I didn’t know, and I have been doing things in the health care field for almost 30 years.”

While this type of career exploration might be new in Marquette County, the national Exploring program has been around for 20 years, said Patrick O’Brien, Director of the Hiawathaland District – Bay Lakes Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

“Exploring in its current form, as a strictly career-focused program has been going on since 1998,” O’Brien said. “And health care careers are more popular than others.”

According to a survey conducted in 2016 involving 150,000 students from sixth to 12th grade, careers in the health care field were the most popular with four of the top 10 careers having a health care element.

“We are pretty excited that UPHS has taken the initiative to start a health care exploring program in the area,” O’Brien said. “It is just one more way that we can positively impact the lives of youth in the Upper Peninsula.”

Marquette Senior High School health and occupational science teacher Ronda Manninen said when starting to decide on a career path, younger is better.

“I would recommend that students, especially freshmen and sophomores consider attending this program,” Manninen said.

Manninen, who has had students from her anatomy and health occupations classes go into various professions in the medical field including doctor, nurse and radiographer, said sometimes these programs can help to narrow down professional choices.

“I had a student who thought he wanted to go into health care, and after some hands-on work decided he didn’t want to do that, he wanted to work outdoors,” Manninen said. “Better for him to find out toward the end of his high school career, than spending money on classes for a career that he doesn’t end up going into.”

O’Brien said there are two possible outcomes for students who participate in the Exploring program: One, the student might find out they are interested in pursuing a career in health care or; Two, the student might decide that a career in health care is not for them.

“Both are positive outcomes because they help to figure out what they might want to do for a career,” O’Brien said.

The program is very important not only to students, but to the community as a whole.

“These are our future health care providers,” Finley said. “The intent is that you want students to be interested in health care.”

Parents of interested students should contact Fran Finley with questions or to sign up for the program by phone at 906-225-7609 or by email at finley@mghs.org.

Or, participants can meet in the inside door of the third level of the UPHS parking garage at 580 W. College Ave. in Marquette. Students under 18 years of age must bring a parent or guardian to sign a registration form before participating in the program.

There is a program fee of $20 which covers all presentations until May of 2018, Finley said.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.