High school students test out health care careers at Sanford in Aberdeen

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 9:18 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - According to the American Hospital Association, Lightcast data shows there will be a shortage of 3.2 million health care workers nationwide by 2026.

Sanford in Aberdeen is getting a head start on solving the health care worker shortage by bringing in local high school students to their facility. The fifteen high school juniors and seniors in the MedX program will get a hands-on experience of what a career in health care could be like.

Over the course of six weeks, the students will explore fields such as nursing, orthopedics, radiology, trauma care and more.

”It allows high school students a behind-the-scenes look at different health care careers, allowing them an opportunity to have hands-on activities in those different areas,” said Bea Smith, Community Liaison for Sanford Aberdeen.

Smith says giving the students a glimpse at what the health care field looks like could persuade them to help fill the shortage of health care workers in the future.

“If we can inspire students to look at going into the health care fields, it will hopefully help us begin to form that talent pipeline and then, help them through their education process if it’s just different job shadowing opportunities, internships to then, hopefully, employment one day as well. Our hope is that they will decide to go into the health care field. They do this program at other Sanford locations, and they can actually track it that 70% of the students that complete the MedX experience do go into health care-related fields. So, we hope to have that same statistic here in the Aberdeen area,” said Smith.

Aberdeen Central junior, Hannah Grebner, says that she was considering going into pharmacy, but even after a few classes in the MedX program, she’s learned much more about other possible routes.

“We saw different things that the nurses did, and I had no idea that they did most of those things. That really surprised me that they do more than check your temperature. I never really thought of being a nurse, but it seems kind of interesting to do. So, maybe that will be an option in the future,” said Grebner.

Grebner says the program changed her perspective on her options, better preparing her for graduation.

”I don’t really know all the careers that are out there, so this will open my eyes and now, I can kind of see that there are more options than just a nurse or a doctor,” said Grebner.

This is the first MedX program offered in Aberdeen, but Sanford staff say they hope to offer programs every upcoming fall and spring and open the opportunity up to more schools in the Aberdeen area.