A future shortage of health care providers across Nebraska and Iowa is prompting a community effort to prepare current high school students for careers in health care. An alliance between the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Omaha area school districts will give high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to take college-level courses to prepare for careers in health care. Virginia Tilden is the Dean of UNMC’s College of Nursing and says this will give students a big head start when their application is reviewed by college admissions committees.
“That has actually been in a gross anatomy lab or has been on a hospital floor with a team of nurses. That will make a big difference in their admission decisions.”
The program also includes a mentoring program where the high school students will be paired with those at UNMC and faculty members. Jabrina Spencer is a sophomore at Bellevue West High School and is interested in the program.
“I think it would be a great opportunity to get that mentoring aspect from someone who has been in our shoes.”
Dr. Kevin Riley is the Superintendent of Gretna Public Schools and says students will receive valuable training.
“Something we can’t simulate in a school setting so I think it that is a unique opportunity that this alliance presents.
Dan Saltzman is past president of the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science teaches at Omaha North High School. Last year he took students from his anatomy and physiology classes to UNMC. He says this is much more than class outing.
“It was not just a walk through field trip; it was an experience providing students with real, up-close learning opportunities in a state of the art facility.”
Students must meet eligibility requirements but is open to all students in the participating districts. Thirty-five students will be admitted and the program will start this fall. Schools taking part include Bellevue Public, Bennington Public, Council Bluffs Community Schools, Douglas County West Community Schools, Educational Service Unit #3, Gretna Public, Omaha Public, Papillion – La Vista Schools and Westside Community Schools.