Lessons in healthcare and adversity through committed community partners

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is an organization that gives students opportunities to broaden their knowledge of healthcare professions. Bhakti P. and Akshita P., students in the Academy of Health Science and Law at McGavock High School, took steps to compete at the regional HOSA competition held at Middle Tennessee State University on February 3, 2012. When the teacher in charge of the program left the school, community partners stepped up to help the students prepare. Today, we hear from Bhakti about the lessons learned from this experience; Akshita's thoughts will be featured tomorrow. McGavock High School has many clubs. HOSA is a national career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. HOSA is composed of secondary and post-secondary students. The competition starts in the beginning of February. Participants choose a skill from the medical field and compete against students from other schools. If you win, you can move on to compete in regional, state, and national competitions.

Students start working on research and skills with the help of their teacher early in the year so they can be prepared to compete in HOSA. The teacher provides students with information from HOSA and real-world experience. Members of the McGavock Chapter were preparing for the first round of competition when our HOSA Advisor left the school at the end of the first semester. She did not leave any information or paperwork necessary for us to work on the next steps. We asked our other health science teacher, Mrs. Daley, to help us get some information from the HOSA organization and other schools. She worked as hard as she could to get us to the regional competition.

However, it had to be in students’ hands to work extra hard to prepare because we had to start over. I talked to my academy coach, Paula Barkley, to see if she could help us talk to our business partners about helping us work on our skills. My skill was Biomedical Debate. Participants had to debate whether social media are good or bad for health. Mrs. Barkley reminded me that Mr. Stuart, from United Neighborhood Health Services, had addressed these issues during our internship last summer. Several of us contacted him and he came to the school to meet with us. We took the test, but our scores were not high enough to compete. However, we learned some important lessons from this experience. We learned that because of networking through our internship, we had resources even after our teacher left. Had we thought about using them earlier, we may have had a different outcome, but we still had an opportunity to learn and grow because we were willing to take a risk and try. We had a perfect business partner who was willing to help my group out and work hard to prepare us. His support makes us willing to compete again even though we lost.