Students studying Health Sciences at the A. K. Smith Career Center in Michigan City are getting first-hand exposure to a wide variety of medical career paths, thanks to a new partnership between Franciscan Health and Michigan City Area Schools.

Through the partnership, Health Science II students will visit Franciscan three days a week for six weeks during each grading period, rotating among numerous departments for observation alongside Franciscan nurses, physicians, and specialists. This experience will give them exposure to areas of the hospital such as Outpatient Surgery, Radiology, Pharmacy, Cardiac Rehab, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Wound Care, Physical Therapy, and Pulmonary Care. 

Upon completion, Health Careers students may be considered for part-time employment opportunities at Franciscan. 

The first series of clinical rotations began on Monday, October 18.

Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins Superintendent of the Michigan City Area Schools, said, “This marks an important milestone in the partnership between our program and Franciscan, which has been under development for more than a year and has also included a comprehensive review of curriculum and career awareness for younger students.”

The Health Careers program at A. K. Smith has expanded this school year, according to Delincia Smith, Director of LaPorte County Career and Technical Education.  “We added a third section of Health Science, which is evidence of this program’s growing popularity with students,” she said. “This is a high-demand field, and our program allows students to explore many potential careers in the industry while earning dual credit and certifications.”

The A. K. Smith Health Careers program, open to juniors and seniors from across LaPorte County, provides students with an opportunity to become CPR and First Aid certified and to earn CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and Dementia Care certifications while still in high school. Students study medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology and gain simulated hands-on experience in a classroom lab at A. K. Smith. Second-year students are placed in clinical rotations at both Franciscan and at other area healthcare facilities. Dual college credits are provided to students in the program through a partnership with Ivy Tech. 

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