The Medication Management Center at COP has “hired” four San Miguel High School students who will work there for the remainder of the school year. The teens are part of a work placement program set up by the high school.
The students’ responsibilities at the center include calling patients, asking them survey questions and inputting data.
The students are learning many different skills while working, but the one that seems to resonate with all of them is learning how to talk to strangers.
“The first few calls, I was terrified,” says Nissi Simmons, a junior. “It was nerve-racking, but I have found a comfort level when I call patients now.”
Having the high school students on hand is equivalent to having another full-time employee at the center – without the salary commitment. They come at a time when the center’s college student workers are going back to school and the extra manpower is needed.
“They are able to free up some time for our technicians and pharmacy students to call patients and provide the services we offer,” says Christine Eichmann, the coordinator for support specialists for the center.
The students work one day a week at the center and go to school on the other four days of the school week. They rotate working Fridays.
“School seems shorter when you work during the middle of the week,” says Odette Lucero, a freshman. “But it’s kind of confusing when you go back to school, because of the break.”
The relationship between the medication center and San Miguel started in 2009, when Kevin Boesen, center director, went to give a speech at the school.
“During that visit I learned about the intern program,” Boesen says. “It seemed like a great opportunity to hire quality employees and expose students interested in health care to our unique patient care model.”
All four of the students are interested in pursuing careers in the medical field following high school, ranging from pediatrician to pharmacist to psychologist.
“I’m looking to go to pharmacy school after I graduate high school,” says Livier Quinones, a senior. “I really like the mixing of chemicals and everything that involves pharmacy.”