Friday, November 22, 2019

WHS students learn from a panel of medical professionals

John Kooistra, Karry Joly, Tyler Barrows, and Gabriel Redmond
share their experiences with Windham High School students.
By Lanet Hane

“In high school, the healthcare field wasn’t even a thought in my mind,” shared John Kooistra, paramedic with Windham Fire and Rescue.

This statement was made as part of the story of how he prepared in high school for the medical field. Kooistra was one of four individuals asked this question during last week’s healthcare panel hosted at Windham High School (WHS), and each had a different answer to provide regarding how they got where they are in the field.

Tyler Barrows, a senior nursing student at Saint Joseph’s College, knew in high school he wanted to be in the medical field and used job shadowing opportunities to narrow his focus to nursing. “The job shadows were really big for me,” he shared. “I wasn’t sure at first where in patient care I wanted to be, so I went to a bunch of different places and found that was the best way for me to see a snapshot of the day-to-day in that career.”

cstlouis@spurwink.orgAnd Gabriel Redmond, physical therapist, places a priority on having stable hours. He also acknowledged that sometimes the best preparation you can have for the healthcare field extends beyond the sciences, “I took a typing class in high school and that skill was invaluable for later in my career when we switched over to computers.”

Karry Joly, WHS school nurse, took a round-about approach. Joly spent a semester at college before taking a year off to be a CNA. It was after that role she decided to pursue an associate’s in nursing. Working as an RN, she was able to complete her bachelor’s with almost no student debt. “Figuring out what works for you and not worrying about what others think is important,” she advised students.

Hearing these different paths really resonated with students, who also asked questions about how they chose the schools they attended and how they each deal with the emotional toll the profession can have. The thoughtful responses these professionals provided will really help students decide on next steps and understand what they need to do to prepare.

In closing, panelists were asked to provide a few tokens of wisdom, and though they took different paths to their careers, they all agreed on the advice shared.

Redmond encouraged students to improve their grades as a way to reduce student debt, while Barrows focused on making use of the variety of resources available in high school.

Kooistra focused on having a learning mindset, saying the field “Is constantly evolving which means you are constantly learning. You are a perpetual student.”

Joly summed up the thoughts of the panelists when she shared, “Be prepared to work hard and be prepared to be rewarded like you never expected.”

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