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Dome - Summer learning

October 2011

Summer learning

Date: October 14, 2011

Johns Hopkins Bayview internship program lets high school students test careers in health care.

Gerry Walters, a physician assistant in radiology at Johns Hopkins Bayview, chats with student interns Devontay Spivey, Jazmine Jones and Marisa Fitzpatrick.
Gerry Walters, a physician assistant in radiology at Johns Hopkins Bayview, chats with student interns Devontay Spivey, Jazmine Jones and Marisa Fitzpatrick.

For many high school students, summer vacation is a time for pool parties, sleeping until noon and trips to the mall. For 10 incoming seniors at Patterson High School, this summer vacation was a time for answering call bells, discharging patients and learning the ins and outs of imaging technology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, thanks to a city-funded internship program aimed at giving students a crash course in Hospital 101.

Johns Hopkins Bayview was one of the area hospitals that partnered with Baltimore City Community College, the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development and Baltimore City Public Schools to offer students a six-week internship. The goal is to give the students, who have all expressed an interest in health care, a practical look at the hospital setting to help them decide if they’d like to pursue a career in the field.

Kathy Rostkowski, quality assurance coordinator for the imaging department at Johns Hopkins Bayview, has been hosting students in the program for four years. “It’s been great being asked again to host the students,” she says. “We learn from having them here.” The high-tech environment in imaging is a natural fit for the students, whose generation was practically “born with a computer in their hands,” she says.

Rostkowski had the two students assigned to her department tour the different areas within imaging until they found one that clicked with them. Mayra Perez, who hopes to one day be an EMT, nurse or veterinarian, found her perfect fit in diagnostics: She was even nominated by a patient for a Catch a Shining Star Award for being supportive, pleasant and helpful.

Employees and patients around the Medical Center appreciate the youthful enthusiasm of the program’s students and have come to recognize them by their signature uniform: a white polo and khakis. “We look at them as our future employment pool,” says Karen Jones, a career development specialist at Johns Hopkins Bayview. “I love to see how they’ve grown by the end of the program. They learn that there are a lot of different careers in health care besides doctors and nurses.” Ashley Toney, who participated in the program at Johns Hopkins Bayview a few years ago, now has a job in the OR at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Devontay Spivey, who plans to pursue a career as a pharmacist, says his time in the neurology department gave him an advantage over his peers and the motivation he needs to stick to the books during his senior year and beyond. “I now know that I want this,” he says, “and I know how to get it—by working hard in school.” 

—Sara Baker

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