Students spent 11 of the 14 days at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley (formerly known as Ukiah Valley Medical Center), where hospital personnel provided rotation schedules and clinical instructors, as well as conference room space and funding for meals. The remaining time was spent at the high school, where students undertook the work experience aspect of the program.
In addition to attending daily rotations, students completed nightly homework with exercises to review what they had learned and reading to prepare them for the following day.
O’Neill said, “We invited students from all Mendocino County high schools to apply for the program. The students needed to be at least 16 years of age, and they had to complete an application that included references and counselor approval. They also needed a letter of recommendation from a teacher and proof of transcripts/attendance to qualify for an interview.” After undergoing formal interviews in June, 10 applicants were invited to participate: 6 students from Ukiah High School, 3 from Anderson Valley High School, and 1 from Developing Virtue Secondary School.
The program originated with a Health Workforce Initiative grant garnered by Butte College in Oroville, California. Butte College partnered with Enloe Hospital at Shasta Regional to start a summer academy, and the program was expanded this year, allowing local students to participate.
O’Neill expressed his gratitude to hospital and college staff. “At UVMC, Lynn Pardini in Human Resources and Natalie Bruzon, executive assistant to Heather Van Housen, were amazing. Also, Helen Falandes at Mendocino College was instrumental on the work experience side.”
O’Neill hopes to make this an annual program and expects many more applicants next summer. Students who participated said they learned a lot and would recommend it to others.
Participants included Maribel Franco, Bailey Grothe, Jimena Guerrero, Leila Hernandez, Ashtyn Howe, Kusali Kandahsari, Alexis Kidd, Maggie Lagorio, Carlos Melchor, and Saul Ochoa-Torres.
Ukiah High School senior Alexis Kidd said, “It's opened my eyes to many different options and showed me that there are way more things in the medical field besides nursing. I knew this program would do great things for me, but I did not expect it to be this amazing. I want to work my way up into becoming an OB nurse and I'm very thankful for that.”
Anderson Valley High School junior Jimena Guerrero said, “Job shadowing allowed me to gain comprehensive knowledge about working in a hospital… I learned medical terminology, charting, different lab tests, diseases, etc. I gained a benefit from every single rotation I had. I feel that this program made me grow as a person. The best part of this program was making new friends and learning something new every single day. I am so thankful that this program was able to happen.”
Ukiah High School senior Ashtyn Howe said, “I’m really excited about everything I’ve learned and seen while shadowing professionals over the last three weeks. Every day was a new adventure while getting an inside look into each department. I feel like I’ve learned so much. Everyone I encountered through the program was full of information and advice. I really appreciate being given this opportunity to explore so many medical fields.”