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| March 5, 2015

Luci, a recent graduate from Kearney High School, has always been interested in the health care industry. Her favorite classes—science and math—stimulated an early interest in medicine and a desire to pursue a medical degree after graduation. Healthe Foundations was a part of that career journey.

In Luci’s junior-year Anatomy and Physiology class, her teacher spent two weeks implementing Healthe Foundations as a way to promote healthy lifestyle choices and provide an awareness of preventable medical conditions. While Luci did benefit from this aspect of the program—vowing to eat less sugar and start working out—the element that primarily stood out for her was the exploration of health care careers.

During Healthe Foundations, the classroom is turned into a mini online health care facility. Students are assigned one of six health care roles—doctor, nurse, hospital administrator, technologist, health coach or pharmacist—and work in groups to learn about a patient with a preventable illness and develop steps to improve that patient’s life.

“In my classroom, we had a smaller group so we had to take on more than one role and we combined roles, too,” Luci recalled. “I learned a lot about different fields and aspects of health care itself. I found the physician and pharmacist roles the most educational, but I found the health administrator role the most interesting. It was crazy seeing how much everything cost, even just for an ED visit!”

Luci also honed a life skill necessary to her future career—collaboration.

“I’m a perfectionist and I want everything done my way so I know it’s done correctly,” she disclosed. “Working with teams, I wasn’t really able to do that. I didn’t have time to take on others’ parts too. It really helped me be more flexible with how the work is done and I think I improved my teamwork ability.”

After the Healthe Foundations program was completed, Luci’s teacher announced the opportunity for students to participate in a Healthe Foundations summer internship. While Luci was unable to apply that year, she jumped at the chance to become an intern after her senior year. She and her internship team spent the summer updating curriculum content, providing feedback, researching preventable health conditions and generally making the program more relevant to their own age group. Their work was outstanding.

“We edited a lot of the online content, going through the roles, adding information and updating information. We made the patients more parallel—vital signs especially—and even updated some tests like CT scans so that they’re explained more. We also started creating our own patient with a different preventable disease that we felt would be enjoyable for high schoolers.”

Perhaps her favorite part of the internship was the Lunch & Learns, where associates from Cerner Corporation came in to talk about their jobs and their personal career journeys. Most of the associates had entered the medical field, as Luci hoped to do.

“The Lunch & Learns were really interesting. The people that came in and talked to us all seemed like they wanted to help us. I know I could contact any of them and ask, ‘Hey, could you help me with this?’ or ‘Do you know of any internships available?’ I liked the connections that the Lunch & Learns gave us.”

With a strong work ethic and passion for health care, Luci’s career is sure to be bright.

“As of now, I want to go into neurology or anesthesiology. The brain, spinal chord and nervous system all really, really interest me.”

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