A Heart for Valentine's Day

I love my job.  As an Academy Coach at Maplewood High School, I feel I am blessed with the best job in a school.  I have the opportunity to work in a unique way with businesses, parents, teachers, administrators and most importantly…students.  The best experiences come when students’ lives are transformed due to experiences with the business partners. One of the most rewarding days occurred right before Valentine’s Day 2014.  St. Thomas Hospital arranged for 3 of our students to come to St. Thomas Midtown for job shadowing.  Special arrangements were made for one student to shadow in the operating room during heart surgery.  He was able to stand side-by-side with the surgical staff and the surgeon explained everything during the procedure.

Another student spent the day in the ER, observing and learning about strokes, spider bites, and severe burns…just to mention a few things.  Her mentor took the time to explain warning signs, symptoms, and procedures for every condition she observed.   She left the experience amazed and impressed by the expertise and professionalism of the staff under such diverse and stressful conditions.

The third student gave the title “Life-Changing” to his experience.  He was debating between pursuing a career in nursing or physical therapy.  His opportunity allowed him to see both professions in action in the rehab department of the hospital.  After only a few short hours, he had no doubt that he will become a physical therapist.  He was fascinated by the psychological aspect of the career and motivated by the challenge of helping people return to a better quality of life.

When I pick up the students after a job shadow like this, the ride back to school is always loud.   The students are so excited to talk about their day, what they learned, and the goals they set for themselves that they are often all talking at the same time.  The joy of the students is almost uncontrollable!

After this particular shadow, the student who witnessed the heart surgery came back to tell his Sports Medicine and Wellness teacher about the experience.  Ironically, she was in the middle of another class teaching about the heart and circulatory system.  Apparently, he was so excited…he took over and taught the rest of the class himself!

It’s hard for me not to tear-up as I see and hear about these life-changing experiences for our students.  In our schools, we are so blessed to have amazing partners like St. Thomas Hospital who have a heart for our students…on Valentine’s Day…and year ‘round.