Pauley’s first “High School to Health Care” program took place in December, and more than 75 students in grades nine through 12 and their parents attended the event at VCU Medical Center.
Dr. Greg Hundley, who ran a similar program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said he started the initiative to make Richmond-area students more aware of the great variety of occupations in health care. “It’s not all just doctors and nurses,” he said.
The daylong event opened with two case presentations about patients who underwent cardiovascular procedures at VCU Medical Center. For each case, there were eight individuals who talked about their role in taking care of the patient, and what they liked about their jobs. The presenters ranged from ECHO technicians and biomedical engineers to the retired director of the Adult Cardiac Catherization Laboratory, Dr. George Vetrovec.
The presenters came from a variety of educational backgrounds. “Some of the people speaking up there just went to high school, others got a two-year associate degree, while some got a bachelor’s, a master’s or even a doctorate,” he said. “We wanted to show kids and parents the job opportunities that are available, that will be needed in the future.”
After lunch, the participants broke into two groups and toured the medical center and school. They got to see Pauley’s cardiac catheterization lab, imaging center and the heart failure and transplantation facilities. Highlights included the simulation lab, where faculty use mannequins to teach various lessons to medical students.
Each student brought one parent, to encourage discussions at home, said Hundley. “My hope is that, when all is said and done, maybe some of the kids were drawn to a particular job and thought, `Hey, I could see myself doing that.’”