Lindsay High School students intern at Porterville hospital

Nine Lindsay High School students make up first Health Academy Pathway summer internship program offered at Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville

By Nancy Vigran @TheSunGazette

PORTERVILLE – Dressed in Cardinal red smocks, nine Lindsay High School students, referred to as learners, have been spending their summer in an internship program at Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) in Porterville.

This is the first year the opportunity has been offered to Lindsay High students about to enter their senior year. It was made available through coordination by Dr. Jeffery L. Hudson, vice president of patient care and chief nurse executive for the hospital, and who serves on the Health Academy Pathway at Lindsay High, and Manuel Cobarruvias, college and career coordinator at Lindsay High.

Interested students were asked to apply and underwent a late afterschool Friday interview.

“I wanted to see how committed they were,” Cobarruvias said.

Sixteen went through the interview process with nine chosen for hospital internships and two others offered local medical field internships in an office setting. The program has been a busy one of four hours a day, four days a week, for three weeks.

On their first day, the learners went through CPR training and became certified, a requirement for the program, and a welcomed challenge by the students. Following that, each was able to go their own way by shadowing a professional hospital employee.

Aaron Perez said he wanted experience in a real-life hospital setting. The 16-year-old got that and more as he has been offered a weekend job in the linen department following completion of the internship program.

Gabriela Cisneros, who aspires to become a registered nurse, and perhaps a pediatrician, said she was happy to be offered the experience.

“It prepares us for what we’re about to get into,” she said, “including the daily tasks and duties.”

She has had the opportunity to job shadow a RN and a MRI technician.

Madison Norris has always been fascinated by the medical field, she said, and would like to work in a hospital setting. She has learned about the various types of jobs available within the hospital. She would like to study to become an RN or a nurse anesthesiologist, and she was able to shadow one of each during her internships.Norris had her own experience with an anesthesiologist having given her three times the amount of sedation she should have had for a surgery, she said. Afterward, she had trouble coming to after the surgery was over.

“I was stuck in my own body,” she said, describing how she could hear what was going on around her, but had trouble waking up. “I never want anyone else to experience that.”

Alyssa Salinas is also interested in a position in the medical field, but she isn’t sure just what as of yet. Salinas was able to spend some time in the ICU shadowing a respiratory therapist.

The other Lindsay Learners in the hospital internship program this year include Mattie Gurrola, Iriane Servin-Ponce, Yarintzi Buckley, Alexis Leal-Chavez and Marycruz Nerto-Perez.

Jamilet Andrade is interning with the Healthy Kids, Healthy Lindsay Diabetes Project, and Ismael Andrade is interning in the family dentistry office of Chris Fammatre, DDS in Lindsay.

While new to Lindsay, the high school internship program is not new to SVDH, said Vickie Foster, education coordinator. Porterville high school students have been afforded this opportunity for years, not only in the summer, but during the school year as well.

“The purpose of the SVMC internship program is to provide a learning opportunity for students interested in the medical field and gain a better understanding of health careers by exposing students directly to a hospital environment,” Foster said. “We hope this opportunity will stay with the students for the rest of their lives and make an impact on their future.

“The program was created 15 years ago with just a handful of students. It has gone through several changes and evolved into the program it is today.

“Students must meet higher standards and go through specific training in the skills lab at their school which has similar equipment that can be found in the hospital. Students now have the opportunity to experience the work place setting as well as the duties performed by the health care staff members.”

SVMC is also a training facility for Porterville College and San Joaquin Valley College medical field students.

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