For teenagers considering a career in the medical field, strategic summer employment can provide a competitive edge in college and career searches. By gaining solid industry experience, they will have more pertinent data for college applications and resumes. If teens are unable to find a desirable paying position, volunteering with a local hospital or non-profit such as the American Red Cross will still be beneficial.
Certified nursing assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified nursing assistants (CNA) “provide hands-on care and perform routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical staff,” such as bathing, dressing and assisting patients in eating. CNAs are usually employed by long-term care facilities but can also be employed on-site at the homes of elderly or disabled. They may also be responsible for household shopping and cooking as well as checking the temperatures, pulse rates and blood pressure of their clients. CNA education is offered free of charge by most high schools through a partnership with an area vocational school. Instruction is usually conducted in blocks of multiple hours in the morning or afternoon of the regular school day resulting in a certification test at the end of the academic year.
Hospital summer work programs
Some hospitals offer summer work programs that vary greatly from shadowing nurses while checking charts, to radiologists examining X-rays, to assisting at in-hospital pharmacies. Cities, such as New York City, provide ample opportunities for summer youth employment in the medical field along with other industries through the Department of Youth and Community Development. Massachusetts General Hospital has the nation's largest project of this kind. Students are subjected to a stringent hiring process for the almost 200 25-hour per week positions. However, those hired are provided full training and ongoing workshops. About 10 percent of these summer employees are then hired for long-term employment of 20 months. To find programs and medical partnerships in your area, contact local hospitals and area agencies, such as the chamber of commerce or city hall.
Lifeguard positions are popular with teenagers and provide more than just a tan. Though often thought of as merely providing pool or beach supervision, lifeguards provide vital medical aid to victims of “near-drowning and to those who suffer from cuts, broken bones, heat strokes or even heart seizures,” according to the California Employment Development Department. The American Lifeguard Association states that lifeguards must earn first aid and CPR/AED certification. This training will include how to work an automated external defibrillator, stabilize spine injuries, supplement oxygen and control external bleeding. Those lifeguards hired to work at hospital therapy pools will have the opportunity to interact with patients and hospital staff.
- Photo Credit lifeguard station image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com
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