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High school student Omi makes a hospital bed with his supervisor, April
June 5, 2018

Giving students a look at hospital life

Finding a career through co-op

Choosing a career path is not an easy feat for a student. Many go on to college or university without a sense of where they want to be after they graduate.

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) have teamed up to give students a glimpse into a popular career path—health care. The Healthcare Support Services Program is offered to senior high school students who are interested in working in health care. It allows students to spend an entire semester in an HHS hospital, learning about different jobs, and gaining hands-on experience working in a hospital setting before graduation.

Omi Moahammad, a student at Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, is just completing his semester in the program. The experience has changed his career aspirations. “Before I came to this program, I wanted to be a nurse,” he says. “After I saw this job I changed my mind, and now I want to be an x-ray technician.”

“The students are right in the unit, seeing how a hospital really works.”

Omi is very thankful for the opportunity to experience working in a hospital before he pursues post-secondary education. He came to Canada from Syria three years ago and graduated high school in December 2017. With a passion for health care, he decided to take the co-op program to get a head start in a career he loves.

Getting hands-on experience in a healthcare setting

April shows Omi something in a binder

The first three weeks of the program are spent in class with teacher, Teresa Anziano, who leads the program. They learn about first aid and vital signs. Students then go on to the co-op portion where they have placements shadowing environmental aides, porters, and nutrition service workers at any HHS hospital. Omi was paired with April who showed him the ropes of working as an environmental aide.

“The students are right in the unit, seeing how a hospital really works,” she says. “A lot of the students will go on and apply for a position with Customer Support Services at HHS when they finish the program, many work their way through college or university in a hospital.”

Going on to do great things

Brittany Griffin did exactly that. Upon completing the program she went on to work as an environmental aide while she studied to become a nurse.

“I knew I wanted to work in healthcare I just didn’t know for what exactly,” she says. “I knew there was more than nursing, so I just wanted to make sure it was what I wanted to do.” She is currently completing her nursing license and applying for jobs.

Moahammad advises students, “If you are interested in healthcare, just do me a favour and do this co-op program. I am very glad and super happy to get the opportunity to do this co-op program, and to learn exactly what I want to do in the future. To actually go inside the hospital, work with nurses and doctors, talk to them, and deal with patients, I think that is the best part. I really appreciate the opportunity.”

A portrait of April and Omi, with Omi giving the peace sign

Follow the students’ journey on Twitter.