Kadlec’s ‘Experience Healthcare’ inspires Tri-Cities students interested in the medical field

RICHLAND, Wash. — June 20-24, 2022, is the week of Kadlec’s ‘Experience Healthcare’ summer program. This is a very busy week for a couple dozen high school students with an interest in the medical field. 

On Wednesday morning, in the middle of their long week, staff hosted the Healthcare Olympics.

“I think it’s really impressive that, you know; first few weeks of summer, this is how the kids are choosing to spend their time,” said Jayme Finch, a behavioral health specialist at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

He was a mentor and counselor for a group of students this year at ‘Experience Healthcare.’

Students received information earlier this year on how to sign up. Kadlec encourages the event for students who are thinking about pursuing a career in any aspect of healthcare.

They include their interests in their application, and the staff choose the best areas for those students to spend their week shadowing.

Students are led by staff, including nurses, mental healthcare workers and others from the medical center. They volunteer their time to educate the students on what a career in healthcare is like.

“It’s been really exciting. We’ve got to do some shadowing in the hospitals and we’ve got to learn a lot about all the different things and how the hospital runs,” said Delaney Davis, a high school senior who took part in Experience Healthcare.

The students spent Wednesday morning taking part in the ‘Healthcare Olympics,’ one of the fun parts of Experience Healthcare. This involved an array of games to show off the skills they’d learned during the week.

“They build camaraderie, it’s teamwork, and it’s getting to learn about something they may not know much about,” said Molly Calhoun, a Director of Nursing at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Experience Healthcare isn’t just games, though.

The students are also getting real healthcare experience.

Finch explained the weeks’ plans. “The rest of the week, they get to do really cool job shadows; they’re going to do some learning at the WSU site right here, and then they have presentations. So, they all have topics that they’ve been assigned, and they’re going to present on those topics. They have a skit that they’re going to do with it, and just continue to have a lot of fun.”

From shadowing in the emergency room or diagnostic imaging to following nurses around the NICU, the students are trying to figure out if this is the place for them.

This means that some students decide healthcare isn’t for them. For others, it enhances their desire for the field.

“It’s been so much better than I thought it would be and it definitely solidified the fact that I want to be in healthcare,” said Davis.

Davis said helping people has always been an interest. When told about Experience Healthcare, she thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look into healthcare.

Davis’ goal is to be a doctor, specializing in either trauma or the ICU. She was enthusiastic about the week of shadowing. She said that if you’re considering it, do it.

“There’s a lot of doors that can open for them, and that healthcare is really far reaching,” said Finch.

This experience is clearly influential for the students, but also for the staff.

“It’s incredibly fulfilling for the healthcare team members that come here and do this,” said Calhoun.

“This week has been a really refreshing opportunity to get to see kids who are really excelling and really focused and able to just spend their time, you know, investing in something that they’re passionate about and that they care about,” said Finch.

Kadlec started Experience Healthcare to establish and enhance an early interest in the healthcare field. Based on the students’ energy and interest at the Healthcare Olympics, it is clear that the medical center’s goal was successful.