This article originally appeared Sept. 30 in Jersey’s Best.
For Bloomingdale resident and Butler High School student Jessica Hoehl, 17, a career in the medical field had long been a goal. “My grandmother was a nurse, my father and uncle were both EMTs, and I was always so inspired by them,” she said. “My guidance counselor and parents found the Morris County Allied Health Medical Institute program, and it was definitely the right fit for me.”
Through Hoehl’s observation of patients undergoing everything from wound care to administration of CPR and treatment for sepsis during her first year in the program, “I was surprised by all of the team members who worked together from different departments and amazed by how calmly they handled things,” she said.
Though she initially had trepidations about the rigorous curriculum, she’s proud of her commitment and staying power. “Once I got into the program, it wasn’t as scary as I’d imagined, and though I thought that the program would be challenging, I knew that I’d put my whole heart into it,” she said. “I’m very proud that I kept up and maintained good grades.”
As she prepares to shadow a pediatric nurse during her second year of the program this fall, Hoehl said that the program has helped her focus on her college and career goals. “I’m thinking about Rutgers, Ramapo College or William Paterson University, and then I hope to be a pediatric nurse at a hospital or a private medical practice because I love kids,” she said.
As for the unique program that gave her a window into the world of health care, “the experience has changed my view on the whole medical field and made me respect what medical professionals do even more,” Hoehl said. “I hope that students after me see what I saw and that it fascinates them as much as it did me.”
With two aunts in the health care field, 17-year-old Kinnelon resident Allan Baum, a student at Netherlands Reformed Christian School in Pompton Plains, was similarly interested in a career in the medical profession. In particular, “I love where medicine and technology meet,” said Baum, who found himself especially intrigued by the fields of radiology, anesthesiology and interventional cardiology. “I found the Morris County Allied Health Medical Institute program and it sounded interesting – I loved the shadowing experience and the opportunity to apply technology to health care.
“My first day at the hospital, I was in the OR (Operating Room) and saw a total shoulder replacement,” Baum recalled. “Though I was a little nervous watching that, the nurses took me aside and explained what everyone was doing and why the patient was having the operation, which helped me understand. I also saw a patient being treated for a heart attack in the (catheterization) lab, and it was interesting to watch the team work together to clear the blockage quickly.”
According to Baum, “the hospital rotations and classes offered a really unique opportunity to learn about the various jobs in the medical profession and what they’re really like, and the program gave me great direction.” After volunteering at Chilton’s Emergency Department and assisting the hospital’s transport team this summer, “I’ve applied to be in the OR for my residency during the second year of the program and look forward to spending time on the more ‘intense’ floors of the hospital where I can spend more time with patients,” he said. “After that, I hope to attend medical school to be a radiologist or anesthesiologist.
“There are so many roles in the medical profession,” Baum concluded of his eye-opening experience. “This is a very unique program and it’s been amazing to see all aspects of the job.”