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LFO students getting healthy dose of real work experience

Schoolwork is transitioning to real work for five Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School students interested in the medical field.

Erlanger at Hutcheson is working with the five Work Based Learning students, who job shadow Erlanger employees Monday-Friday from noon to 3:30 p.m. Even though the experience is unpaid, it can pay off big, since it can be listed on the students’ resumes, said Erlanger at Hutcheson Human Resources Administrator Christie Kline.

“It lets them come in and see what the job duties entail,” she said. “They get a dose of what health care is. It’s not just nursing; they might want to be in radiology or physical therapy. We also have Human Resources, accounting, health information and coding, which is a hot health career right now. If they have health care on their job application it goes a long way.”

Lejla Duracak, who is job shadowing in the labor and delivery area in the Women’s Center, said she would like to make that her career after she graduates from Kennesaw State University with a nursing degree. So far, the high school senior has observed baby deliveries, the administration of epidurals and a circumcision.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field,” said Duracak. “I love it. I will be the first member of my family to enter the medical field.”

She said she likes to stay late at the hospital observing. Most days she stays until 6 p.m. and sometimes leaves as late as 8 p.m.

Kline said the students sign confidentiality forms, take a TB skin test and show proof of immunizations before they start the job shadowing program. She said patient confidentiality is emphasized to the students, who wear a badge printed with their name and the title “Job shadowing.”

The students rotate between the hospice, labor and delivery and respiratory sections of the hospital as well as the Emergency Room. Just before the program culminates, each student then chooses which department they want to shadow in for the full final month, which occurs in May.

Kline said Erlanger at Hutcheson CEO Roger Forgey is a big advocate of the job shadowing program. He understands that it is a big recruitment tool for the local hospital’s Human Resources Department, said Kline, who recently moved to the Hutcheson campus after serving at the main Erlanger campus for 17 years. She said many former students that job shadowed at that Chattanooga location now work at Erlanger as full-time employees.

“We expect the students to learn and pay attention,” she said. “They do take it seriously. We know they are learning from this experience and deciding a career path to take. They can’t do hands-on patient care. They can answer phones, deliver ice and blankets. They mainly observe.”

LFO High School Work Based Learning Coordinator Bo Campbell said the LFO students are receiving quality training at Erlanger at Hutcheson Medical Center’s campus.

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