A Durham program is giving real-life experience to students who want work in health care.
The program is part of the Center for Health Science and Medical Professions at Southern High School and is open to any student in the area.
Corey Jarratt said when he goes to Durham Regional Hospital, he looks like an employee.Jarratt is a high school senior finishing up the program through Durham Southern.
"I think our future in health care lies in these students. And if we can give them a glimpse of what it's really like, then that's the best thing we can do," said Edith Stewart, a teacher for the program and a registered nurse.
Students in the ninth grade start with basic biology. When they get to the 10th grade, they study anatomy and pathophysiology.
Students also work in the heart lab, in X-ray and assist with procedures to check a patient's breathing.
After four years, the students are eligible to become a certified nursing assistant or emergency medical technician.
Program coordinator Kathy Glenn said many graduates go on to become doctors, nurses and technicians. She also said the program is important to solve the health care shortage, especially nurses.
"If we don't do something now to encourage young people to go into health care, our crisis is going to be something we cannot compound," said Glenn said.
Program participant Brittney McNeil said she hopes to help with the shortage of dentists in North Carolina.
Jarrat said he is considering becoming an X-ray or MRI technician.
"It's shown me things that I can do to better myself," he said.
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