Students get hands-on with health care


July 19, 2015

High schoolers Abby Jantro and Casi Schwartz listen to Mike Matenaer Thursday morning, a medical technician at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital in the town of Polk, about what the hospital’s lab does.  
Linda McAlpine/Daily News

TOWN OF POLK — Maggie Kieser, an incoming senior at West Bend East High School, smiled as she looked over an X-ray of a human neck on a computer screen in the radiology department of Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital in the town of Polk on Thursday morning.

Kieser and nine other students, who will be seniors at West Bend East and West high schools, were taking part in a three-week Health Career Academy at the hospital. Kieser smiled because what she’s learned through sessions that include spending time in different departments, hands-on experiences and classroom discussions, has helped confirm that a career in health care is right for her.

“I love science, especially the science of anatomy,” Kieser said during a discussion with the other students and Mary Beth Bales, family and consumer sciences teacher at the high schools, about their experiences Thursday morning. “I definitely would like to work in the health care field.”

Kieser and Morgan Dommisse, an incoming senior at East, spent time in the radiology department, while Ashton Rentmeester, a radiologic technologist, showed them around and explained what the department does.

“I was very surprised that we have been in so many different departments and learned about them in depth,” Kieser said. “I never thought we would be allowed in the operating room or have so many hands-on opportunities. I think that is the best thing about this experience.”

Ashton Rentmeester, a radiologic technologist at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital in the town of Polk, right, shows an X-ray to Maggie Kieser, left, an incoming senior at West Bend East High School and classmate Morgan Dommisse, during Thursday morning’s session of the Health Career Academy.  
Linda McAlpine/Daily News

Dommisse said she enjoyed time spent in the oncology department.

“I found out how diverse the job opportunities are in health care and how it seems almost all of the departments in the hospital work together for the patient’s care,” Dommisse said. She, too, is set on a health care career.

Matthew Tomey, a West incoming senior, the only male student participating in the academy, said he liked learning about the radiology equipment.

“I learned that it’s OK to be a man in a health care career,” Tomey said.

One student reported that she learned something she doesn’t want to do after spending time in the birthing center.

“I’m not into children,” Sydney Gilley, an incoming senior at East, said with a laugh. She found other departments to be interesting, however.

Alfred Jefferson Sr., manager of human resources, Community Hospital Division, said the academy at St. Joseph’s Hospital started after a discussion with West Bend School District Superintendent Ted Neitzke, who was looking for ways to provide hands-on and job-shadowing opportunities in the health care field for high school students in his district.

“We proposed the option of doing an academy here like the one we offer at Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls,” Jefferson said.

The academy at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which began July 6, ends July 24.

“The students will be making presentations to their parents and mentors on what this experience has been like for them and what they have learned,” Bales said.

Students applied for the academy and were selected to participate. They will receive a half credit for the program, Bales said.

Reach reporter Linda McAlpine at .