Upstate News

June 25, 2008
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate career prep programs cited as the best by business, education group

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— In University Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, Baker High School student Rachel Green of Baldwinsville was listening in on medical rounds with a team of physicians, nurses and medical residents.

In the hospital’s Emergency Room, SUNY Morrisville student Nick Tiffany of Clay, suited in hospital scrubs, observed nurses and other members of the medical team administer care to an older woman with breathing problems.

“This is exactly what I want to do and where I want to be,” said Tiffany. “I’m interested in helping people and giving back to the community—and in the ER, there’s always someone who needs help.”

Tiffany and Green are among the more than 100 individuals who have participated this past year in SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Nursing Career Shadow Days that partners participants with individual nurses to get an up-close look at a day in the life of nurse.

“This experience goes beyond the career brochure and brings the individual right to the front lines of medicine,” said Cherie Nash, who coordinates the program. “This is where they can see what nursing really looks and feels like.”

SUNY Upstate’s Nursing Career Shadow Day and MedQuest Health Careers Exploration Camp are two of its education programs recently honored by Partners in Education and Business, a local consortium comprised of Central New York business and educational institutions that seek to meet the needs of employers through workforce education programs.

Nursing Career Shadow Day received the consortium’s top prize, “Program of the Year.” Nursing Career Shadow Day won the same honor last year. The Program of the Year award recognizes a program’s leadership, strategic planning, performance excellence and results.

The Nursing Career Shadow Day, which will begin its third season this fall, now offers four sessions each academic year. More than 175 applications are submitted for only 120 spots. Participants range in age from teens to mid-40s. “We even hosted individuals who were interested in making a change in careers,” Nash said. “We’re seeing so much interest in nursing and other healthcare careers that for individuals to actually shadow a nurse for several hour is an opportunity to see the career like never before.”

Nash said many units at University Hospital understand the importance of such a program and have participated, including neuroscience, physical medicine and rehabilitation and ambulatory units. “The program also enables us to showcase many of the different nursing units on campus,” she said.

The Nursing Career Shadow Day is supported from the Advocates for SUNY Upstate Medical University.

The MedQuest Health Careers Exploration Camp, coordinated by SUNY Upstate’s College of Health Professions, was honored with the consortium’s “Workforce Preparation Award. The program, a weeklong residential camp experience, provides high school students with more than 40 hours of programming, such as observing surgical procedures, learning about acupuncture, suturing demonstration and disaster preparedness. The program began in 2003 and has seen its enrollment climb steadily.

Program volunteers sort through more than 100 applications each year to find the 25 students to accept in the program, which begins July 14.

“This program is designed to nurture a student’s understanding of science and medicine and to encourage them to pursue this course of study in college,” said James Vossler, assistant dean of the College of Health Professions. “The fact that this program is a residential camp, helps provide that academic feel to the experience. You really are away at a university.”

MedQuest is funded by a grant from the Central New York Area Health Education Center and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

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