Medical careers students gathered in class for their weekly Wednesday project day. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Wolski)
Medical careers students gathered in class for their weekly Wednesday project day.

Photo courtesy of Ms. Wolski

York’s Medical Careers ventures beyond the classroom and into the hospital

February 24, 2020

Students often say they wish that they could take classes geared towards their interests and their future professions in high school and with York’s Medical Careers program, seniors interested in entering the medical field are given the opportunity to do so.

York’s Medical Career’s program (Med Careers), is a two-semester long class offered to students their senior year at York. The class begins first semester with an intense study of anatomy. Then in second semester, students are given the opportunity to put that knowledge to the test in a real-life hospital setting.  Four out of the five days of the school week Medical Career students drive to Edward-Elmhurst Hospital.

“Med Careers is a blessing,” Med Careers student Ivonne Rios said. “It’s such a competitive program that we all fought so hard to get in, so we can learn in a different way compared to other anatomy classes. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to be in the workplace and see different areas of the hospital.” 

Photo courtesy of Julia Stone
Seniors Ivonne Rios and Gigi Stechschulte dissect a mink in class.

Med Careers students put on their lab coats and begin their hospital rotations within the first two weeks back from winter break.

“The hospital experience came as a shock to many of us,” Med Careers student Julia Stone said. “It is very different than [being] in the classroom. You are challenged every day; it is not cut and dry. There are always complications with each case, so it gives a lot of perspective to what practicing medicine actually is because it is not sugar-coated like in the average textbook.” 

During the first semester of medical careers, the class took a field trip to the Rush Hospital cadaver lab. A cadaver lab is where frozen corpses are stored and handled in order to find new surgical techniques, and provide educational experiences.

“Although dead bodies are not for everyone, we had a really good time getting to go to Rush Medical School and look at the cadavers that medical students work with every day,” Med Careers student Max Devereaux said. “It was such a great experience to put ourselves in the shoes of a medical school student because for almost all of the students in the class that is our next goal in life.”

Medical careers is not just a class for hands-on learning and experimentation it also has a rigorous workload. For these reasons, not just any York student can sign up to be a part of medical careers. Students must fill out an application and go to an interview before they are either accepted or declined.

“There’s a committee involved in the selection process.” “We look for students who are hard workers and are looking to take risks in the classroom,” Medical Careers teacher Nancy Wolski said. “In addition, we hope that the student has an interest in the medical field. [the student] doesn’t need to know for sure that that is what they want to do because the class allows for exploring, but there should still be some interest.”

The hardworking students who come together to form the Med Careers program at York understand the stress that they are put under. This class is worth something more than just a grade; it is also an experience that allows York students to come together to explore their passion.

“Because you are in the classroom for two periods you really form a good connection with everyone in the class and it has a real family atmosphere,” Devereaux said.  “We are truly the only ones who can relate to the amount of pressure and stress we are under. I can honestly say that [Medical Careers] is the fastest class of my day even though it is two periods long because I am doing what I love.”

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