South Dakota high schools introduce students to health care

“The purpose of the class is to explore different health careers, jobs, skill development, and job descriptions,” said class instructor Dr. Bree Oatman, who has a background in public health. “To help kids think about careers they might be interested in and how to prepare in high school and post high school.”

In order to develop the background needed to make educated decisions regarding possible careers in health-related fields, students spend an immersive semester visiting locales like Lead-Deadwood Regional Hospital, the Black Hills Pioneer ( ) reported. Among other new skills, students learned how to intubate a patient and perform CPR, planned ambulance ride-alongs, received an overview of anatomy and physiology from a vocational perspective, and even took a trip to the pharmacy to learn how prescriptions are measured out.

As a practical everyday experimental lesson students grew bacteria in petri dishes in order to demonstrate how bacteria grows on cell phones, door knobs, etc., and learned why hand washing is so important in battling bacteria. They then took their findings and shared them with Lead-Deadwood Elementary School third graders, demonstrating the importance of hand washing.

As part of the health occupations class, students will also enjoy a fair amount of career exploration through job shadowing and problem-based learning modules, in addition to learning about the history of medicine in the United States and completing a brochure on the career of their choice.

“We also play a board game called Pandemic,” Oatman said. “It deals with cure and prevention of disease outbreaks around the world. It’s kind of like Risk.”

Junior Jachin Ruth said he signed up for the class because he had a vague interest in health care.

“I’m interested in becoming a doctor and helping people,” Ruth said. “I’m hoping to learn more about all the different occupations and steps I need to take to get into said occupation. Pharmacy is another one I’m interested in and want to see it first-hand.”

As an accompaniment to the class and other science classes, Oatman also started a HOSA: Future Health Professionals Club, the only one in West River South Dakota.


“We want to introduce kids to the numerous occupations out there related to the health care fields and introduce kids to those fields,” said Principal Tony Biesiot. “A lot of schools do this class as a club, but with a small school and kids being busy, we decided to make it part of the curriculum.”

Biesiot said that the class has benefited students in a variety of ways thus far.

“I was talking to a student who was interested in going into the health care field,” Biesiot said. “Through this experience, they were able to decide that it was not for this student. We’ve also developed great relationships with Lead-Deadwood Regional. It’s opened the doors to it and a lot of other occupations out there, not just at the hospital, but they’re checking out other careers, as well.”

[Source:-The Washington Times]