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McPherson College, Hospital Partner In Career Exploration

Jamie Hicks, McPherson Center for Health

Jamie Hicks, McPherson Center for Health

The partnership between McPherson College and McPherson Center for Health provided a valuable experience for students participating in the career exploration class this spring. It also gave greater insight on patient experience to the health care professionals at the hospital who presented each week to the students, according to Jamie Hicks, RN, and manager of education and patient experience.

“Any time you teach or present, you have to get very granular about your subject,” Hicks said. “I think the health care professionals who presented during the class were able to identify the aspects of their job they especially love and then share their passion with the students. Our staff really enjoyed the opportunity to promote their own role and potentially influence a future career choice for these students.”

For 12 weeks last spring McPherson College Health Science students attended class at the hospital and were given a behind-the-scenes look at all aspects of patient care. Nick Baldetti, health care initiatives director at the college, and Hicks worked together to design a course intended to look at the hospital’s patient experience from entry to exit.

“I am passionate about patient experience, and think it is really important for emerging health care professionals to understand the full breadth of the health care system,” Hicks said.

Students were placed in small groups and given a patient scenario. Each week they toured and heard from subject experts on specific aspects of the health care system and learned how it pertained to their patient scenario. This included everything from how marketing works into a patient choice of provider, how environmental services and purchasing support a positive patient experience, to the importance of patient registration, health information systems, and individual care services.

“We wanted to create an experience that considered all aspects of the health care system and apply it to a patient encounter,” Hicks said. “It was important to demonstrate how all areas have to work together to create a thorough and positive experience for the patient with the idea that the students will be better health care professionals if they understand that from day one.”

Collaborating with the college provided hospital leadership an opportunity to have several internal discussions about patient experience and think about all the pieces of a patient encounter, Hicks said. She is looking forward to continuing the career exploration classes each spring and is excited about future ways the college and hospital can work together to help prepare the next generation of health care professionals.

“I think it is a really unique program and this class tapped into a different way for students to see and experience a health care system,” Hicks said. “It was rewarding to have the opportunity to engage with students and show them where their educational path can take them in the health care field. Our partnership is a benefit for all of us in supporting the quality and volume of future health care professionals and inspiring a love for rural health care in particular.”

The McPherson College Health Science program offers majors in health science and healthcare management for students interested in all areas of health care including behavioral health, public health, community health, and healthcare management. Scholarships of up to $100,000 for four years are available to students. In an effort to provide a wide variety of experiential opportunities for its students, McPherson College partners with several local and area health care agencies. To learn more about the program to go