Future nurses, pathologists, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, paramedics, senior community health workers and environmental science professionals were among those checking out career positions set up inside Liberty Arena on Wednesday .
To the upbeat music and dancing of UPMC mascot Will Mr. Sport, dozens of area students in grades 10 to 12, the age when many are beginning to get a feel for what ‘they might want to pursue post-secondary education, health professionals met with UPMC in north-central Pennsylvania.
These professionals partnered with local colleges and universities and military recruiters from the Army, Army Reserves, and Navy to host the Health Care Career Exploration Fair held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lock Haven University, Susquehanna University, Pennsylvania College of Technology and Luzerne County Community College were represented.
“We did this event to really try to introduce students to a lot of different healthcare opportunities and show them what it means to be a healthcare worker,” said Kyle Bryan of UPMC North Central Pa.’s human resources department, which helps with recruiting.
Students wore virtual reality goggles at a behavioral science table, put on tinted goggles mimicking a patient with cataracts, looked at a tourniquet applied by a paramedic at a prehospital care station, and discovered that mechanics maintaining air conditioning and heating, vehicles, and buildings are also a big part of the team to keep hospitals running smoothly when displaying engineering and maintenance.
UPMC Pre-Hospital Services paramedics and emergency medical technicians with Susquehanna Regional Emergency Medical Services demonstrated how to put on a tourniquet to stop life-threatening bleeding, how to intubate a patient for oxygen into his lungs when he’s not breathing and showed them what it’s like to be the first line of defense when patients need saving.
A nurse recruitment station not only showed what it takes to become a licensed or licensed practical nurse, but also how to become a certified practical nurse or CNA.
UPMC has openings for patient care technicians, which are similar to CNAs, but certification is not required prior to employment.
“We will teach them skills in advance after they receive a high school diploma or GED to get them interested in nursing,” Brian said.
A respiratory therapy team, a career field that got a lot more publicity because of COVID, rubbed shoulders with the UPMC pharmacy team. Pharmacy employees may need a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, but there are also non-bachelor’s degree certifications available to pursue.
Team members from the UPMC Human Resources Department showed students the opportunities in Human Resources and told them about the types of careers available, available benefits, and part-time and full-time jobs.
“Help to guide them further in their career”, Brian said.
Surgical services professionals were there to explain what tools are used in surgery, provide an operating room perspective and describe the prevalence of same-day surgeries
Not only are surgeons needed in operating rooms, but there are programs for nurses, anesthesiologists, surgical technicians – all critical to successful surgery, post-surgery and ultimately recovery. and the long-term health of patients.
Hospitals are miniature cities, and the food service that provides meals for the cafeteria goes beyond what is served to patients and staff. This department is also for students interested in becoming dietitians, which is essential for patients in recovery.
A large assembly of students gathered around the team working in the Senior Communities. These long-term care providers asked students to wear cataract-like glasses and asked them to choose the right color pills and read a phone book.
The UPMC Lab was represented.
In recent years with the pandemic, laboratory employees “have sometimes become unsung heroes”, Brian said. Laboratory professionals, including pathologists, phlebotomists, and medical laboratory technicians, work as a team with physicians for all patient care.
For students interested in chemistry, biology, and math who might not be so comfortable on patient floors, the laboratory realm might be the place to pursue.
Physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists had a table with a sample of human spinal cord. Environmental science staff demonstrated how they sanitize rooms and equipment, showing how a dirty phone surface is contaminated with viruses and bacteria.
UPMC has a behavioral health service for patients who may have some type of illness or behavioral disorder that causes mobility or speech problems.
Overall, the opportunity to provide career advice was a valuable day for most students, who huddled around each of the display tables, picking up literature and free gifts provided by the UPMC and Liberty Arena staff.
In total, Pittsburgh-based UPMC, a $24 billion healthcare provider and insurer, has invented new patient-centered, cost-effective and accountable models of care and remains the largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania, incorporating 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals and 800 medical offices and outpatient sites.