East Texas health science programs prepare students to fill much-needed jobs

“These students are going to be able to come out and help step right in to those areas that really have a great deficit that need students and need people who a
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 11:11 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - East Texas schools are preparing high school students for an important career field that’s in need: medical care. New lessons are giving students their first hands-on experience.

Kilgore ISD’s health science program started back in 2017. It’s all about teaching students the fundamentals of the medical field. Just this year, the patient care technician track was added.

“They learn all the nursing assistant skills, plus. They’ve learned phlebotomy, they’re going to be learning EKG skills, and they’re learning a few more advanced skills than a nursing assistant does.” says Jackie McDonald, Kilgore College Instructor and Program Director for Nursing Assistant Program.

Senior student, Tykeria Haynes wants to be a travel and delivery nurse, and says this class was the perfect opportunity.

“It made me sure about what I want to do. At first I was like, okay I don’t know if I really want to do this. I don’t know if this is really for me. But the more I come and the more I learn and try, it’s like, oh yeah, this is definitely for me.” said Haynes.

Students will travel to a local hospital and have direct patient contact in the spring. McDonald says the program makes sure students are well-equipped once they graduate, as there is a need for more nurses.

Whitehouse ISD has had a similar program in place for over 10 years. They are also aware of the nursing shortage and the importance of preparing the next generation of healthcare workers.

Whitehouse High School Health Science Instructor Krystal Jarred says, “These students are going to be able to come out and help step right in to those areas that really have a great deficit that need students and need people who are trained and ready who want to work and are excited to get out there.”

The school offers lessons in pharmacy, nursing assistance, and more. Students also have the opportunity to job shadow at local hospitals.

A section of the school replicates a hospital floor.

“We want it to feel like you’ve transitioned into a health care setting. We want it to feel real. It adds that little extra level of reality to what they’re learning about.” says Jarred.