York General hosts first Rural Health Day

York General hosts first Rural Health Day

(This article was originally published by the York News-Times on Jan. 31, and is appearing on Nebraska Public School Advantage as a guest piece. The photographs are courtesy of the York News-Times and the author, Naomy Snider.)

By Naomy Snider

Twenty-nine York middle school students attended York General’s very first Rural Health Day. The students had the opportunity to discover a wide range of careers in the health care and science fields, talk to health care professionals, and assess the skills and abilities needed to go into the health care field.

York General CEO Jim Ulrich opened the day talking to the students.

Ulrich said, “When a lot of us think about health care, we think about what’ve seen on TV. We picture doctors and nurses, but there’s a lot more than that and that should be exciting for all of you. This is an opportunity for those of you who are interested in radiology, lab testing, labor and delivery, physical therapy and surgery. If you’re someone who likes computers or what we call ‘information systems’ or if you want to work in human resources, we need people like that too. There are a lot of moving parts and hopefully, something will spark your interest.”

Throughout the day, the students toured York General Hospital and York General Medical Clinic. They met with department heads of the ER, surgery, obstetrics, utilization review, clinical analysts and surgery. They learned about the everyday duties of lab technicians, pharmacists and radiologists. The students toured the specialty clinic, oncology department, the cardiac rehab center, and the wellness center as well.

Home Health Program Coordinator and event organizer Leah Lonsdale said, “There is such a shortage of workers these days especially in the health care field, I wanted students to be able to see that there many career options in healthcare and they are all an important part of taking care of the patients and providing good care. I felt it was important to get them into the hospital setting so they could see staff in action, experience the culture of York General, and see how passionate the staff members are about their jobs.”

Lonsdale and Ulrich hope this event will help build interest in other occupations outside of lab, surgery and nursing. They emphasized students should keep their eyes opened for jobs in plant operations, materials management, dietary, environmental services and laundry. There are also people working behind in the scenes in patient accounts and human resources.

Lonsdale said, “At this stage in their lives they are starting to think a little more seriously about what path they may like to try so I wanted to expose them to everything healthcare can offer.”

Eighth grade science teacher Kelby Phillips shared how her students were impressed with getting to see different areas of the hospital. “Some of their favorites included the physical therapy and occupational therapy facilities and seeing the anti-gravity treadmill, the MRI machines and talking to the cardiology department,” said Phillips.

As this is the very first rural health day York General has held, Lonsdale said the Leadership Alumni team looks forward to working with York Public Schools in putting this on again and they would like to offer it to surrounding schools in the future.

Above: Leah Lonsdale, home health program coordinator, gives students a sneak peek at a delivery room at York General Hospital.