The Palm Desert High School Health Careers Academy junior class participated in a job shadow day on March 16. Three vans transported 43 students to 20 medical-related locations including JFK Memorial Hospital, Eisenhower Medical Center, medical clinics, dental offices, senior centers, JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort & Spa, and even animal care facilities. The students volunteered for six hours at these sites.

“The experience was unforgettable,” says Ashley Young who volunteered with two friends at the Joslyn Senior Center. “I had no idea what to expect; however, once we got there, we were warmly welcomed and immediately given tasks. The three of us met with some very down-to-earth seniors and absorbed their wisdom through their heart-touching stories.”

Nydia Aguayo had an eye-opening experience at JFK Memorial Hospital. “Getting the opportunity to shadow a phlebotomist was a life-changing experience,” she said. “It allowed me to see what a day in a hospital looks like. Meeting new people and seeing all the different departments was just absolutely amazing.”

“Knowing I was helping someone become strong and healthy again brought a smile to my face,” said Paola Ayon adding that she likes the way it feels to serve other people. “That is when I realized the medical field is for me.”

Miguel Espinola learned more about what it takes to work in health care. “I was once confused about what I needed to do to achieve my goals,” he said. “But after absorbing the advice from medical professionals, I know the reality of what is expected from me, how to get there, and most importantly, why I love the field!”

This real world exposure gave students a glimpse of the variety of possibilities in health care. Through the Health Careers Academy, students learn through a prism of career preparation in a three-year “school within a school.” In addition, they learn how to take vital signs and perform CPR for core studies. They also earn first aid certificates and learn about medical specialties and terminology, infection control, and HIPAA privacy and security, as well as portfolio building and interviewing skills. As seniors, students are assigned to intern at a professional site.

Editorial written by student, Ashley Young. The Palm Desert High School Health Academy is always seeking new opportunities such as guest speakers, volunteering, and internships. For more information, please contact [email protected].


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