Exploring Future Careers

Students+prepare+for+disaster+drill+at+Presbyterian+hospital.+.+Left+to+Right%3A+Nicole+Neustifter%2C+Suman+Vadlamami%2C+Gauri+Ketkar%2C+Claire+Nguyen.+Photo+Submission.

Students prepare for disaster drill at Presbyterian hospital. . Left to Right: Nicole Neustifter, Suman Vadlamami, Gauri Ketkar, Claire Nguyen. Photo Submission.

Meraal Hakeem, Senior Editor

Students prepare for disaster drill at Presbyterian hospital. . Left to Right: Nicole Neustifter, Suman Vadlamami, Gauri Ketkar, Claire Nguyen. Photo Submission.
Students prepare for disaster drill at Presbyterian hospital. . Left to Right: Nicole Neustifter, Suman Vadlamami, Gauri Ketkar, Claire Nguyen. Photo Submission.

Slowly, junior Gauri Ketkar opens the employee door for the first time. The scents of antiseptics waft around her. Her fingers tingle with excitement as she prepares to see advanced medical procedures take place. She, along with several others in Practicum in Health Science (Clinical Rotations), gains valuable experience that will exposer her to the medicinal arts as she begins to pursue the field as a possible career.

As high school careers come to an end, students begin to think about what lies ahead. Some students have already begun to unravel the enigma that is the near future and have a potential career in mind. Students can receive a head start in their endeavors by receiving certifications through classes offered at school. The school offers Clinical Rotations, Veterinary Medical Applications (Vet Tech), Health Science: Pharmacy Technicians and Floral Design where students are prepared for certification examinations in order to advance early in their potential careers.

Through Clinical Rotations and Vet Tech, students are given the opportunity to shadow doctors and veterinarians. The opportunity gives them hands-on experience, allows them to grow familiar with potential work places and learn about how different hospitals are run.

“In clinicals, you have the opportunity to rotate at hospitals, see actual surgeries and have actual involvement,” senior Madison Arora said. “Sometimes students even get to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in emergencies.”

Clinical Rotations gives students the information to become Certified Pharmacy Technicians CPhT) as well as American Health Association (AHA) Healthcare Provider CPR certified.

“We spend half our time at sights and the other half we spend in class learning about body systems and studying for the certification test,” Arora said. “There is a shaving day where you have to shave one another, a bed bath day and a feeding day. It’s really fun and you bond as a class.”

Students are later assigned to hospitals and other places of medical practices where they explore different realms of medicine. This way, they can be exposed to different practices and may find one that they would like to pursue in the future.

“My favorite part about Clinicals is being able to go through the ‘Employees Only’ door and observe procedures that I wouldn’t be able to see until the last year of medical school,” Ketkar said.

Through the Clinical Rotations program, students can also receive the opportunity to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). There are two portions of the test. The first includes a written portion, which tests students on a variety of nursing skills that come from their handbooks and hands-on learning practices. The second consists of a skill portion in which the exam taker is asked to demonstrate any four Nurse Aid skills with the guarantee of being tested on hand-washing, a first to every procedure.

“After hand-washing, you can be asked to demonstrate three other nursing skills,” Arora said. “One of them is usually measuring, but the exam is basically to see if you are competent enough to work as a Nurse Aid.”

Responsibilities of Nurse Aids include assisting in tasks such as dressing, bathing and skin care, feeding, mouth and hair care, making beds, toileting assistance and catheter care, bowel and bladder care, taking vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, etc.), helping patients walk, assisting with range-of-motion exercises, helping wheelchair-bound patients using safe patient handling devices, turning and positioning bedridden patients regularly, reporting all changes to the nurse, safety awareness, observing, reporting and documentation and post-mortem care.

“A Nurse Aid can work in hospitals, nursing home and areas like that,” Arora said. “They basically take care of patients and part of the work for the nurses.”

Vet Tech provides instruction and training necessary for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association’s Certified Veterinary Assistant Level I certification. The class provides an academic background for entry-level positions as a veterinary assistant. Topics include animal anatomy, physiology, disease transmission, treatment techniques, lab procedures and many more. The class provides an academic background for entry-level positions as a veterinary assistant. In order to receive the Texas Veterinary Medical Association’s Certified Veterinary Assistant Level I certification through Vet Tech, students must take a $125 exam, demonstrating knowledge of skills required by the training program.

Pharmacy Tech exposes students the work and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians. These responsibilities include taking note of insurance, creating labels, counting drugs and keeping inventory, and engaging in behind-the-counter work at a pharmacy.

“A pharmacy technician works under the direct supervision of a pharmacist,” senior Saarah Rahman said. “They basically shadow a pharmacist, assisting them. Sometimes, if the pharmacy allows the technician, they can compound drugs, which is making sure enough drugs are made. They have many behind-the-scenes responsibilities.”

The course provides students with the knowledge and text to take the CPhT exam. Students are made aware of the rules and regulations of the exam and for a practicing pharmacy technician. The class focuses more on teaching material that will be tested in the exam rather than providing hands on experience, although students to partake in laboratory activities. After students take the class, they can register for the CPhT exam. However, they only have two opportunities to take the exam each year.

“You need a minimum of 70 percent to pass the exam, which is all you need to receive the certification,” Rahman said. “It costs about $200, and you can register right after you graduate.”

Once the certification is received, individuals can directly go to work at a pharmacy. No further degree or education is required to be a pharmacy technician.

“After getting the certification, you can add CPhT to your name,” Rahman said. “It basically means that you are a Certified Pharmacy Technician.”

Another class that offers students the opportunity to become certified is Floral Design. The class is activity-based and allows students to develop competencies in flower classification and identification, geometric and specialized floral designs, identification and classification of plants, interior landscape development, and the use of artistic elements in personal designs. Students will also learn business skills relating to the floral industry.

“It’s basically just making stuff with flowers,” senior Khushbu Bhatt said. “We make bouquets and centerpieces. By completing a year of Floral Design, we can get the certificate of a Level 1 Florist.”

The exam is open to all high school students with a semester and a half of Floral Design experience. Along with a $100 testing fee, students must complete a 100-question written exam complete with true/false, short answer, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. They must also pass judging criteria for symmetrical design and boutonniere.

“My favorite part about Floral Design is how I can put together individual flowers into a beautiful arrangement,” Bhatt said. “It’s great that you can get certified for doing something so fun, too.”

With all the certification programs offered at school, students are allowed to stay on top of possible career opportunities. They are allowed to explore different realms of study, pursuing skills that peak their interests.

“I really like how through different classes and programs in school we are exposed to potential careers that will help us in the real world,” Rahman said. “We are given the opportunity to study things we want to learn about and gain so much more from our high school diplomas. It really shows you that we live in a world full of possibilities.”