Mammoth Spring High School has a class that can help students gain some experience in the medical field before going to college or working at a hospital or clinic.
The medical field is constantly growing and is always in need of good employees who know what they are doing. Mammoth Spring High School has realized the opportunity for its students to get a one up in the medical field by having a vocational class geared towards students who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine.
The program is called Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). The program started at Mammoth Spring High School in 2003 and kept going.
Lynda Greene teaches the course and said the class is a good opportunity for students. "It's just to promote students as far as showing them in high school the possibilities once they get out of high school, get into college and then careers are available," Greene said.
According to Greene, HOSA started about 1976. Like home economics and agriculture classes, students have the opportunity to compete in HOSA. There are about 35 states participating in HOSA. Students can compete at state and national levels in veterinary assistant, forensic medicine, medical terminology, home health aid, sports medicine, medical photography and other medical related fields.
"We are the only HOSA chapter in the state of Arkansas to win a national scholarship," Greene said. "Last year, we actually won our second."
Greene said students get more scholarships and it looks impressive on a resume to list how much the student has worked on community projects and volunteering. "The more that you do that's of your time for the community, that looks so much better for job applications, for college applications and for college scholarships," Greene said she tells her students. She also said that HOSA is a 501-C3 organization, which makes it a charitable organization.
"When we got started, there was a grant process and application, and we got, I think, a $34,000 start-up grant to buy equipment to get the medical professions vocational track going here," Mammoth Spring High School Principal Brian Davis said.
Much of the equipment in the classroom is the same as one would see in a basic clinic with the exception of the students' desks. Greene said some of the medical equipment was donated and some she was able to find when clinics or hospitals were selling old or used medical equipment. She said she was able to find two hospital beds for $10 each. Using this type of thrifty spending, Greene was able to save enough of the grant money to buy the more expensive medical equipment such as microscopes, computers and a Smart Board.
"We have a fully handicapped accessible bathroom so you can teach patient care," Greene said. There are also anatomical models so students can practice CPR.
"We can kind of cover anything from basic care up to the administrative end," Davis said.
According to Greene, students learn medical terminology, which can be beneficial to them if they decide to go on to college in the same field. "They go into it (college medical classes) and they're not as scared," Greene said.
"Eventually, we would like to have it where we can get students CNA (certified nurse's assistant) certified here on campus," Greene said. "Hopefully, in the future, what we could offer, too, is pharmacology. They could take a year of pharmacology and take the pharmacy tech exam, graduate from high school and go right into a pharmacy tech position."
"If we ever get as far as the CNA portion, we'd have quite a few resources to tap," Greene said. The Mammoth Spring area has several clinics, nursing homes and a hospital within a 30 to 40 mile radius.
"We could better serve our kids by providing them with a certificate or skill, and we could better our community by providing a skilled, trained, certified staff for those who need it. A person with a CNA could be a win-win for the community and the school," Davis said.
"Right now, I certify them in CPR first aid through the American Red Cross because I'm an instructor, and that's a biggy, especially if they go into the nursing program because they have to have an American Red Cross (first aid certificate), so they can get that at school," Greene said.
Certifications can also be listed on students' resumes when they apply for jobs.
"The experience you get (in this class), you can't put a price on it because you can carry it from one job to the next and each time it just builds," Greene said.