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Students explore careers through MetroHealth internships (Photo gallery)







Before seniors at the Lincoln-West School of Science and Health wear the cap and gown, they wear the MetroHealth System pin.

Members of Science and Health's first graduating class received the pins Monday at the MetroHealth main campus off West 25th Street, symbolically kicking off the school's inaugural internships in hospital positions both medical and non-medical. The internships will become a senior-year staple at the hospital, where Science and Health students attend some of their classes and gain exposure to potential careers.

Science and Health, believed to be the first school in the country embedded on a hospital campus, is part of CMSD’s plan to provide students and families with options so they can find the best fit. The District also stresses internships and other real-world experiences as preparation for college and career.

Stacy Johnson, MetroHealth director of learning and performance management, has watched the students transform since their arrival. For her, the pinning ceremony seemed like a prelude to commencement.

“To see their level of maturity, it just warms my heart,” said Johnson, whose oversees leadership development and employee evaluation for MetroHealth. “They are determined to grow. They are determined to pursue a career.”

This year’s seniors will spend Mondays through the end of the school year working in one of nine departments: nursing, radiology, marketing, communications, environmental services, safety and security, research, patient access or physical therapy.

The students have undergone training to perform duties that are as hands-on as possible. They also learned skills, such as resume writing and how to speak to a supervisor, that can aid them regardless of occupation.

India Reynolds, who will intern in the cardiac intensive care unit and plans to become a nurse, aspired to work in the medical field but did not know exactly what she would end up doing. She said she enrolled in Science and Health because “I felt it would help me decide what I really wanted.”

Chianne Jones will serve her internship in the pediatric intensive care unit and is excited to get a close-up of the work she hopes to pursue as a nurse.

“This is what I want to do once I leave school,” she said. “It was a benefit for me to go to this school. It’s always good to have a foreshadowing.”

Representatives from the interns' departments welcomed them one by one Monday to a stage in a hospital meeting room. Principal Michelle Kirkwood-Hughes then affixed the pins to shirts and sweaters.

Just 21 seniors are serving internships this year, but that number will grow in the future. CMSD typically opens new school models with ninth-graders but included this smaller group as sophomores because they had been taking part in a MetroHealth mentoring program.

As ninth-graders Science and Health students report to the MetroHealth campus one day a month for orientation to the different roles of hospital departments and employees.

Starting in 10th grade, the time expands to two days a week, during which students mix their academic classes with career exploration, leadership workshops and job shadowing. Kirkwood-Hughes said interacting with hospital employees allows the students to “see themselves in their shoes.”

The benefits are mutual because hosting the school and offering the internships is helping MetroHealth develop a pipeline of talent with strong connections to the community. And employees will find their lives changed after getting to know the teenagers, including their skills, perspectives and even the personal struggles they have faced, said Monica Lawson, Science and Health’s college and career success manager.

“They are going to learn from the students,” Lawson said. “These young people are so talented and so smart.”

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