Health occupations class prepares students for careers in healthcare

Area students learn about medical professions

By Arna Vanebo, CMH Clinical Dietitian and Health Occupations Teacher

Jamee Meier at Health Occupations Class

In September, Jamee Meier, RN, gave a lecture on diversity to the students in Astoria High School’s Health Occupations class.

With the start of a new school year and as a new CMH employee, I took over teaching the Health Occupations class at Astoria High School. It’s a great opportunity to be out in the community, educating students on the wide array of healthcare careers available to them. I am enjoying the variety the class adds to my week and the energy and enthusiasm of the students, as well as the opportunity to learn from professionals in other health fields. 

The class has been offered since 1997 to Astoria, Knappa and Warrenton juniors and seniors. Many current CMH employees have taken the Health Occupations class. There are currently 22 students enrolled, three from Knappa High School and the rest from AHS. Health Occupations is offered as a collaboration between CMH, Clatsop Community College and AHS to get students interested in healthcare careers early. 

A wide variety of speakers have already made guest appearances in the class this year. Topics have ranged from HIPAA training to careers in Pharmacy and Cardiac Rehab. The students are being exposed to a plethora of career options, as well as learning about safety and professionalism in a healthcare setting. Several other medical professionals have been scheduled for the rest of the year, including yoga instructors, a Medix employee, a medical assistant, Laboratory caregivers and many more still being planned. The first semester will end with Chad Rankin training the students in First Aid and CPR. 

During the year, the students are required to complete two job shadows, volunteer work, presentations, exams and regularly assigned homework. They also practice taking classmates’ and family/friends’ vitals, along with practicing using proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Field trips to the Oregon National Primate Research Center, Clatsop Community College and Clatsop Care Center are currently in the works. The students have also visited Oregon State University for a day to see what the College of Public Health and Human Sciences offers. 

I am so grateful to all of the CMH caregivers and community members who have been willing guest speakers in the class and who have offered to let students job shadow and learn about your profession. This class makes a difference!