Across the country communities are working to connect high school students to their careers of interest by creating internships. As you may imagine, connecting students to healthcare careers proves something of a challenge, given the various regulations. Lucky for us here in Greater Peoria, OSF Healthcare was up for the challenge, creating – for the first time – an internship program for high schoolers to explore clinical healthcare careers, and we recently had a chance to catch up with our first two OSF interns.
Amanda, Dede, and Rochelle
“These two have been such an incredible help.” Deuanna ‘Dede’ Moore-Harris, Sterile Processing Department (SPD) supervisor exclaimed as we navigated a maze of hallways. “We didn’t know what to expect, as we’ve never had students in our department, but when we interviewed these two, we knew they’d be great; I don’t have to worry about them at all!”
Amanda and Rochelle – both seniors at Richwoods High – who were curious about pursuing careers in healthcare and were looking for a way to experience potential careers first hand, so they jumped at the opportunity intern at OSF Healthcare. “I was really nervous in my interview, but it must have gone okay, because they offered me the internship!” laughed Rochelle with Amanda nodding in agreement next to her.
“Neither of us had no idea what the Sterile Processing Department was, but it’s been great meeting all the other employees and seeing all the hard work that happens in a hospital you don’t know about; interning in this department gives me a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves,” states Amanda.
Amanda and Rochelle on the job
Before this opportunity at OSF Healthcare, both Amanda and Rochelle had limited work histories, with Amanda working at bakery and Rochelle working summers as a camp counselor. While an internship in the Sterile Processing Department may seem unglamorous, for these two, it has made a world of difference in helping plan their next steps after high school.
“This opportunity has definitely strengthened our interest in pursuing a healthcare career, but it’s also shown us that there are more careers out there than we thought,” Amanda and Rochelle agree. “I plan on going to ICC for two years using Peoria Promise to continue to explore healthcare careers,” Amanda says. “I actually just got accepted into UIC Champaign-Urbana’s pre-med program, and I’ll be starting there this fall, I’m so excited, and this opportunity has made me more certain this is what I want to do,” says Rochelle.