Throughout the pandemic, Sierra View Medical Center had to turn away Career and Technology Education Pathways high school students from Porterville Unified School District and Lindsay High School Health Academy students.
The students have returned to Sierra View last week and this week for their weekly internships learning about healthcare and the many departments at Sierra View including Wound Healing (off-site), Radiology, Ultrasound, MRI, Cardiac Cath Lab, Materials Management, and Marketing (off-site).
LHS students concluded their week internship rotations on Monday and the PUSD Pathways students began their time at Sierra View Medical Center on Wednesday. The students were escorted by school contact Bianka Meza for the duration of their day visits from 8 a.m. – noon.
Sierra View staff and management were welcoming, friendly and kind to the new students and were pleased to pass on their knowledge to the next generation to help them decide if careers in health were right for them.
As the students, their advisor, and Sierra View Education Coordinator Monica Flores met in front of the hospital, the students were a bit shy before everyone introduced themselves, as thunder rolled and lightning flashed, and rain started falling. It just added a bit more excitement to the morning, when already excited and eager students would begin learning about new career possibilities at the hospital.
Alexa Martinez, a PHS senior, said working in trauma was exciting. She was talking about the Trauma Unit, where they care for the injured, "helping people at their most vulnerable times. I'm really excited to be here and learn about SVMC and all the departments in general; CT, MRI, Ultrasound, and many more."
Another student, Itzel Ferrer, also spoke and said she was excited to be involved in the internship because it was one step closer to her future. "I want to be a dentist. And being at SVMC is really informative and I'm learning a lot."
When the students all went to begin their internships at the various departments, Kyle Miguel from MHS began his internship learning Marketing at Sierra View, and Guadalupe Gomez from PHS began her Cardiac Cath Lab internship.
At the Cath Lab, Gomez and the nurses introduced themselves and the nurses spoke about having interns working with them, and about how they got started at SVMC.
Maria Corona has worked at the Cath lab for a long time and she said it was a pleasure having high school students again at the hospital. "It's great helping them get to experience what healthcare is like, and to help them choose their career. It's certainly different from what you watch on TV and in the media. We have an amazing team here in the Cardiac Cath lab, and they work together in any situation.
“If anyone wants to join us, it's nothing like that,” added Corona about TV.
Rosie De Leon, who's also in the Cath Lab, said, "It's a great opportunity for the younger generation to see what healthcare is all about. It gives these students an opportunity to decide on the career options available, and it keeps them ambitious so they can pursue their dreams.
"It was my ambition to become a nurse, and my mother worked in the healthcare industry for years. She told me about all the stories working at SVMC, and here I am today."
The next stop at Sierra View was the Materials Management department, which is the giant cog-in-the-wheel that keeps the hospital moving. It's the support and supply chain of the hospital.
Jeannie Baeza has worked in the Materials distribution department for 36 years and knows so much about the hospital. They store everything from bedpans to needles, and syringes, and so much more. They also have all kinds of Personal Protection Equipment, and all kinds of surgical equipment.
They've always had masks and gowns, and gloves, but along came the pandemic, and they had to get a much larger variety of them, and a certain level of masks and equipment was needed.
Manager of the Materials department, Sandra Clifton, has been at Sierra View for 26 years and was taught by Baeza. "I volunteered when I was at Monache High School and I did the filing for the hospital and really enjoyed it,” Clifton said. “Then I got my first job working part time for Materials Management and then I became a surgical buyer for the Surgical Department."
“When I hear about students coming to SVMC I always welcome them, because they can see the whole hospital from the supply perspective. And it's interesting to see what they want to do with their health goals."
Jasimin Mendez, who's the intern working in the Materials department said she was glad to be learning about the medical supplies at the hospital for part of the week.
Lief Williams, who's the Materials Management Director, said, "This is where the caring starts, and we have to adjust our inventory to meet the new needs of the practitioners and patients," said Williams as he spoke about the new needs for specialized masks, gloves, and gowns, and more.
Jennie Mendoza has worked at Sierra View for more than 45 years and said she loves it when students come to the hospital, "And I'm still loving it," she said. She buys everything for the hospital except for food and drugs.
Sierra View has two outpatient clinics, one in Porterville and the other in Terra Bella.