Sharing the ABCs of Healthcare Careers Starts with Local Elementary School

Wayne Wilson, PHR, MBA
Wayne Wilson, PHR, MBA

by Wayne Wilson, PHR, MBA
Director, Human Resources
Methodist Health System

It’s no secret that hospitals and other healthcare organizations are scrambling to fill positions while dealing with shortages of talent in many areas. Innovative organizations like Methodist Health System are pursuing out-of-the-box strategies to identify and cultivate the workforce of the future.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s approach is a perfect example. Created in the hospital’s Intentional Inclusion and Diversity Committee, Methodist Dallas adopted nearby James S. Hogg Elementary School. Why pursue this path of interacting with the community? Adopting Hogg Elementary met the three objectives established by the Intentional Inclusion and Diversity committee:

  • Build trust in the community
  • Build hospital name recognition
  • Identify and nurture future workers.

The school is located about a block from the Methodist Dallas emergency department in southern Dallas. Students come from generally low-income households and are primarily Latino, African-American, and mixed race.

The hospital’s first event at the school was held on March 2 in memory of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Some of the students came to school that day dressed as their favorite Dr. Seuss character, and 13 Methodist Dallas employees read books to students in various classrooms. For the school’s two hearing-impaired classes, we provided sign-language interpreters, and for the Spanish-speaking classes, we provided Dr. Seuss books in Spanish.

 

Then on May 19, we sponsored a Career Day at the school. Fifteen employees talked to students about each of their hospital careers including:

  • Pastoral care
  • Public relations
  • Police and legal
  • OB-gyn
  • Respiratory therapy and radiology
  • Quality
  • Dietary and wellness

The employees were also joined by a magician and clown who performed for the students. The day proved to be a huge success. The students were excited and showed great interest in the diversity of job opportunities available in the hospital. One boy said he had learned that when he gets a vaccination, he has to breathe and relax his muscles so it doesn’t hurt.

Adopting Hogg Elementary has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. It’s a win-win for the school and for our employees who volunteer their time with the students. Moreover, we continue to be amused and inspired by the children’s observations. One day, we were chatting with a group of first-graders who were waiting their turn on the playground. We asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. One said a firefighter, another said a police officer, a third said a cook, and one chimed in with, “I’m going to be a doctor!”

Everyone involved with our adopted school hopes our time with the students will help them overcome any fears they might have about hospitals. We also hope it will help them think about a career in healthcare.

We have more in store for our adopted school for the rest of 2017. We will hold a back-to-school drive in August aimed at providing school supplies for students. Plus Methodist will assist their teachers in setting up their classrooms for the upcoming school year. For Veterans Day, our employees who are also military veterans, or currently serving in the reserves, will visit the school to share their experiences.

If you’re looking for an organization that supports the community in fun and innovative ways, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System
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