Chester students explore careers in healthcare

Chester students explore careers in healthcare
Posted on 05/31/2023

Plumas Charter School teamed up with Westwood Unified School District, Chester High School  and Seneca Healthcare District this spring to introduce students to careers in healthcare.

The program is called “PHESI,” which stands for Plumas Health Education Spring Institute, and is designed to provide college and career exposure to high school students interested in careers in healthcare. After the successful completion of the pilot program last year with Plumas District Hospital in Quincy, coordinator Danielle Plocki was eager to offer the experience to Chester and Westwood students. 

The program began in January, concluded in May and was available to students 16 and older. Plocki is a nurse and career technical education (CTE) credentialed teacher at PCS. She taught a seminar consisting of 18 hours of classroom instruction. Students then engaged in hospital rotations with Seneca department heads serving as “preceptors.” Rotations included; Nursing, Radiology, Laboratory, Physical Therapy, Dietary/Nutrition, Administration, HIM/Admissions, Patient Support, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Information Technology. Students were exposed to job duties, specialized equipment, roles and responsibilities and how each department fits into the overall goal of providing optimal patient care. 

To conclude the program, the nine participants delivered presentations about their experiences to their instructors and family members during a banquet on May 30. CEO of Seneca Healthcare District, Shawn McKenzie spoke to students about the many different career paths under the umbrella of healthcare and encouraged the participants to explore their interests. “Everyone will need healthcare at some point in their life. It’s a great career choice because it's not going away,” he said. 

Seneca’s Chief Nursing Officer, Judy Cline also addressed the students emphasizing the ongoing need for qualified providers and expressed gratitude for the PHESI program. “I’m so glad we got the opportunity to share what we do at Seneca. We are a tiny campus but a busy place,” she said. 

Chelssa Outland, the public relations director, had a fun surprise for the teens. She presented gift bags to three winners of a radio-ad writing contest.  During the program, each student submitted their version of a radio-marketing ad about the hospital. Harlie Tissot, Gianna Tantardino and Genesee Majors’ ads were selected to be recorded and will run on-air during the next two months on JDX. 

The juniors and seniors all expressed gratitude to their teachers and the staff at Seneca during their presentations. Many shared that the program sparked their interest in a new career path or re affirmed the interest they had in healthcare prior to the program. Radiology, EMS and nursing were some of the student’s favorite rotations. Junior Jason Taylor was excited to go on a call during his ambulance ride-along but was relieved to find out it wasn’t an emergency situation. He said he was able to learn a lot about patient care and that his instructors were eager to answer his questions and explain their procedures. Kendra Sell, senior at PCS, described a patient that let her sit in on his wound-care appointment and that she was grateful for his openness to include her and allow her to learn by observing and asking questions. 

PHESI was launched with support from the Health Workforce Initiative Program and the K-12 Strong Workforce Program. CTE Pathway Coordinator, Lisa Kelly explained that “The K-12 Strong Workforce Program provides the resources to implement specific K-12 programming that includes exposing students to opportunities in regional priority sectors, such as healthcare, and is purposely aligned to college programs that will launch students into living wage career opportunities with relevant skill sets.” They provided initial supplies, resource materials and curriculum that the PCS program has built upon. If you would like more information, please contact:

Danielle Wagner Plocki, BSN, RN

School Nurse, CTE Patient Care Pathway Coordinator, Plumas Charter School

[email protected]

By Rachel Goings, Public Relations Specialist  [email protected]

In the photo:

Instructors and hospital staff pose with the students and their certificates of completion of the PHESI program. From top left: Seneca Human Resources, Corie Kribs, Harlie Tissot, Kendra Sell, Katernia Nine-Squire, Gianna Tantardino, Angela Standley, Jason Taylor, CTE Pathway Coordinator, Lisa Kelly and Seneca Chief Nursing Officer, Judy Cline. 

From bottom left: Dayton Durrksen, Bethany Dahlsten, Genesee Majors, Seneca CEO, Shawn McKenzie and PCS Patient Care Pathway Coordinator, Danielle Plocki.