Students in the Sister Islands who are considering a career in the healthcare profession are learning from mentors at the Brac’s Faith Hospital.
Each year since 2009, Faith Hospital’s intern program has welcomed two students from the Cayman Brac high school’s graduating class to come and learn as much as they can from staff at the hospital.
Dr. Srirangan Velusamy, director of the Sister Islands Health Services, says creating an open line of communication between the hospital and students plays an important part in encouraging young people to make healthcare a career choice.
“We encourage the high school students to think of healthcare as their profession by meeting with them during their careers day, as well as any other opportunity we get,” he said. “Our interns work with us for a year in different sections of the hospital, gaining important exposure so they can properly appreciate what it means to be a healthcare professional.”
Cheyenne Dixon, a 16-year-old attending the Layman E. Scott Senior High School who is involved in the program, said her stint at the hospital gave her a chance to get hands-on experience in a career of her choice.
“If I did not have this opportunity to work at Faith Hospital, I would not have been able to get the full grasp on what the job entails on a daily basis, I am very interested in continuing in the medical field after graduation, if not returning to Faith Hospital in particular, working at the Health Service Authority for sure,” she said.
Her day at the hospital involved talking to patients and informing them of the procedures they will be having, assisting with patient rounds, tests at patients’ bedsides and comforting patients.
Students who take part in the internship programme face an interview before they begin the mentoring process.
Dr. Velusamy said staff mentor students by frequently meeting with them and their parents, guiding students to apply for their university course of choice. It’s an on-going relationship that goes far beyond the year spent at the hospital, he said.
“Our mentorship continues while they are studying at university,” he said. “We believe this is crucial to the success of our programme because we want the students to be successful and complete the course. Mentoring students right up until they graduate is very important to us.”
Dr. Velusamy said the hospital staff would like to see students who have undertaken Faith’s internship program return to the Cayman Islands after their studies and, in particular, to come back to work at Faith Hospital.
Lizzette Yearwood, Health Services Authority Chief Executive Officer, said two of the interns were already undergoing nursing training, two are undertaking a pre-med program and one is studying for a pharmacy degree.
“It is fantastic to see Cayman’s young people embrace the profession in this way and we hope to be able to encourage even more young Caymanians to follow similar career paths in the years to come,” she said.