‘Pathways Programs’ Educate Future Healthcare Providers
Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in the nation, and there is a critical need to increase the number of students pursuing careers in the field. To meet this need, Reading Hospital created “Pathways Programs” to expose area student to the many healthcare careers available in the health system.
“We know one of the best ways for individuals to learn about a career in healthcare is to provide access to facilities and our team members,” said Charles F. Barbera, MD, Reading Hospital President and CEO. “I think when individuals can see our physicians, nurses, and support staff in action they come away from the experience inspired. They can see how our team members make a difference for patients, their families, and their colleagues. I truly believe a career in healthcare is the most rewarding profession.”
Pathways Programs include:
Job Shadowing – The Job Shadowing Program allows high school and college students to observe healthcare professionals in the workplace. Students have the opportunity to observe the daily routines of clinical and non-clinical staff; gain awareness of the academic, technical, and personal skills required to be successful in healthcare professions; gain an understanding of the unique work environments in a particular healthcare profession or department; begin to identify career interests; and develop an understanding of the critical connections between school, work, and professional goals. Additional information regarding the Job Shadowing Program, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found here.
Community Connection Program Internship – The Community Connection Program (CCP) addresses Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) through screening, referral, and navigation for patients. SDOH such as housing instability, food insecurity, utility service interruption, unreliable transportation, and safety concerns can impact patients’ health outcomes and quality of life. Addressing SDOH aims to improve health outcomes and measures such as Emergency Department usage and chronic disease maintenance. The CCP Internship is open to college students who will serve as Patient Screeners, conducting screenings for health-related social needs with patients at various clinical delivery sites using the Hospital’s Epic electronic health record and use a 3rd party data system integrated with Epic to provide a tailored community resource summary to eligible patients. Additional information regarding the Community Connection Program Internship can be found here.
Youth Volunteering at Reading Hospital – Reading Hospital has two Junior Volunteer Programs. Year-round Junior Volunteer Program opportunities are available in the Emergency Department (ED), the Observation area in the ED, or the Mother and Baby Unit. In the Emergency Department volunteers will help assist patients to their rooms, help visitors navigate the ED, and re-stock needed supplies. In the Observation area they will help by offering comfort to patients while they wait for test results, help answer the door and phone, and re-stock needed supplies. In the Mother and Baby Unit volunteers will deliver food trays and other items to new moms and support new families and the littlest members of our community. A new program for volunteers includes assistance with the Stroke Program. These volunteers will offer comfort items to patients. Additional information regarding Youth Volunteer Internships can be found here.
High School Internship Program – This program provides students with a practical experience at Reading Hospital that enhances their academic, professional, and personal development. Students apply their knowledge and skills through hands-on activities while interacting with hospital staff. For additional information and program eligibility, please visit the Be Well Berks website.
Desha Dickson, Tower Health Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Wellness added, “We are proud of the programs we provide to students. These opportunities allow them to spend time in the hospital and get an open and honest look at the type of work they might consider for their future. We’ve even had several ‘graduates’ of these programs come back to work at the hospital full-time upon graduation. To me, that is a testament to our team members and the work they do.”