Story – High School Students Explore Career Aspirations at St. Joe’s (Student Job Shadowing)

Grade 12 students at Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School had the experience of a lifetime at St. Joe’s. In partnership with St. Joe’s King St., the students participated in a job shadow program, spending an hour a day for two weeks following staff in different units. Students were exposed to different health care areas of specialization such as dialysis, urgent care, senior’s care, and the laboratory.

On January 9, the students came back to the hospital to showcase what they had learned to staff. Filling entire Bob Kemp Auditorium, the students’ colourful poster board displays described their favourite experiences, the scope of the work and the roles of the staff they shadowed.

“It was a really good experience,” said Olivia Ivankovich, who shadowed in the laboratory. The students who were placed in the laboratory had the opportunity to learn how to draw blood and run all types of tests on the samples they collected. Testing her own blood stood out as the highlight of Olivia’s week in the lab, as it did for her classmate John Leduc, who will be studying biotechnology at Mohawk in September in pursuit of a career in a medical laboratory. He said that his experience in the St. Joe’s lab reinforced his confidence in his career path.

Staff loved having the students around, too. Cheryl Montani, a medical laboratory assistant, worked closely with John and Olivia, teaching them how to draw blood.

“They did really well taking blood… they didn’t miss once, and they were really eager to learn. It was so nice having them!”

Mary Marinac, who works as a medical laboratory technologist, was one of the “patients” on whom the students practiced drawing blood, and noted how dedicated and eager the students were, even staying overtime to help finish daily tasks. Both she and Cheryl were impressed with the students’ displays and their demonstrated understanding of the work they did, and said they would “absolutely” participate in this type of program again. They’d both like to see the program expand to other schools.

A program of this style is an opportunity to showcase the hardworking staff of St. Joe’s and the incredible work they do within our walls, as well as to teach and support future health care workers in their education. Brooke Cowell, Clinical Director of the Kidney and Urinary program, called the program “very collaborative and very positive for the staff and students alike,” an opinion shared throughout the room.

Job shadowing showed the students the ins and outs of health care, and in some cases even opened eyes up to new career options. Emma Adamo’s work in the Staywell senior’s program inspired her to pursue senior’s care in her future, while Kara Gold’s experience in the hemodialysis clinic gave her important background information for her ambition to work as a paramedic.

Cardinal Newman health care teacher Michael Fuchs is proud of his students and the hard work they did, and looks forward to continuing the school’s partnership going forward.

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