HOUSTON – Two Houston High School students will get a first-hand view of various medical careers during a month-long program at North Mississippi Medical Center this summer.
Kaitlyn O’Barr and Hannah Grimes will travel twice a week in June to NMMC in Tupelo and spend time in a variety of medical departments watching and learning about healthcare jobs.
“This is a pretty exclusive program and I am very pleased we got two students in it this year,” said Allyson Leitner, who teaches Anatomy and Physiology at Houston High School. “These are two outstanding students and they certainly deserve to be accepted to this program and the recognition that goes with it.”
O’Barr and Grimes were recommended for the program by Leitner and they were required to submit an essay and then take part in an interview for the limited number of slots offered.
“The essay basically wanted to know why we were interested in medicine or healthcare,” said Grimes. “It also asked us to list our career goals and accomplishments in high school and in the community.”
Both Grimes and O’Barr are members of Anchor, BETA Club and Thorn Church of God.
O’Barr said the interview was a little more in-depth and the selection committee wanted to see how they might handle themselves on the job and with patients.
“They pointed out we would be shadowing doctors and technicians,” said O’Barr. “They were nice but the questions let me know we were going to see a lot and it was going to be like a job with certain expectations.”
Although no student can administer any form of direct patient care, they will help with comfort measures for patients and also see how the hospital works.
Both young women said they are interested in a career in medicine and both said they have not narrowed down a field or specialty. They are hoping this program will help them figure out what they want to study and what career path they will take.
The Volunteer Services Department at NMMC will assign Grimes and O’Barr specific work hours and have them working in various departments in the hospital.
Leitner said both O’Barr and Grimes are good students and could be doctors if they so choose.
“I’ve been teaching for 27 years and these two really are quality students,” said Leitner. “They make “A’s” in my class and they know how to study.”
O’Barr is a senior and Grimes is a junior. They both said their interest in a medical career was cultivated by Leitner. Both said their favorite class was Leitner’s Anatomy and Physiology class.
“We constructed a mock human body out of various materials in her class,” said O’Barr. “It taught me a lot.”
Grimes said that class project required a lot of research on the various organs of the body and what each looks like and what it does.
“Learning about the body is the main part of medicine,” said Grimes. “You can’t help people until you know how the body works what a healthy body does.”
Leitner said applications for the Volunteer Services program at NMMC have been offered at Houston High School since 1996.
To be eligible students must have completed the ninth-12th grades by June 1 of that year. A
Application deadline is March 31, and applications are available at area school guidance offices or from the NMMC Volunteer Services Department.
All volunteers at NMMC complete an application, go through a background check, have a routine medical checkup and attend an orientation session.