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Cathy Taylor
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Fairfield Memorial Hospital Health Careers class receives visit from Air Evac

Pictured from left to right are the Health Careers Students and Instructors with the Air Evac Team. Marc McMahan (pilot), Sarah Titzer, Leah Brown, Kinley Arnold, Faith Michels, Brandon Kaiser, RN (Flight Nurse) , ReAnna Dixon, Kinzi James, Rachel Wright, Kylar Slover, Lily McDannel, Aidan Rawls (front), Peyton Simpson (front), Reanna Rogers, Jayda Owens, Madeline Walker, Kenley Fewkes, Ashlee Johnson RN (Health Careers Educator), Sarah Aydt Hopfinger BSN-RN (SEIL AHEC Director), and Danny Stowers (Flight Medic).


Students of Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Health Careers Program enjoyed spending time with the flight crew from Air Evac recently. The crew flew in to show the students what it would be like to be a flight nurse, paramedic, or pilot in the future.


“We like to expose the students of our Health Careers Program to the vast amount of careers in health related fields. This was an optimal opportunity for these students to learn about the rewards of being a flight nurse, medic or pilot, but also understand the challenges of caring for a patient while in the air,” stated FMH Health Careers Educator, Ashlee Johnson, RN.


Sarah Aydt, BSN, RN, Director of South East Illinois AHEC, stated, “We are grateful for the strong partnership Air Evac and Fairfield Memorial Hospital have, not only for caring for the community, but also in assisting to educate the future healthcare workforce.”


Recruiting healthcare workers to small rural communities can be a challenge; however, Fairfield Memorial Hospital is in its ninth year of “Growing Their Own” by offering the Health Careers Program, a dual high school and college credit program in partnership with Frontier Community College. This health science technology program was specifically designed for high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field.


During the first semester the students study two courses: Medical Terminology, learning medical terms as well as basic anatomy and physiology and Health Careers where they will learn healthcare organization and structure, and career opportunities in the healthcare environment. The students are given opportunities to rotate through many clinical settings throughout Fairfield Memorial Hospital. They enjoy gaining knowledge of the various healthcare fields through visits from professional staff within the facility. They are also exposed to an entire realm of healthcare at Fairfield Memorial Hospital from shadowing Certified Nursing Assistants to Ancillary staff to Medical Doctors.


Throughout the second semester the students have the opportunity to become Certified Nursing Assistants. In order to gain the knowledge to be prepared for their CNA exam they were required to have 100 hours of classroom time and 50 hours of clinical practicum which they receive at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. The hospital works closely with Frontier Community College, one of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC), and the local high schools to make this Health Careers program possible.