by Emma Hibdon
“Even though HOSA is targeted towards future health professionals, we try and incorporate types of volunteer work.”- Senior Anne Cole
The Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA-Future Health Professionals), a national medical organization for high school students, allows students to learn about different medical careers and pursuing relevant interests with the purpose of preparing students for careers in medical fields.
“HOSA is all about students who know they want to be involved in medicine and healthcare after high school,” senior and HOSA historian Anne Cole said.
The program is for students thinking about entering a healthcare related profession.
“For anyone who has an interest in medicine and plans to make a career out of it, it is a good way to meet others who share that common interest,” senior member Andrea McCrorey said.
To be involved in HOSA, a student must be enrolled in a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical class.
“When you take PLTW Biomedical classes, you have the option of becoming a member of HOSA,” McCrorey said.
There are a variety of reasons that factor into a students decision to join HOSA.
“I got involved in HOSA because my best friend in middle school wanted to be some sort of doctor just like I did, so we signed up for the freshman biomed class together and ended up joining HOSA as part of the class” Cole said.
There are a lot of options for how a student can be involved.
“You can be involved in the chapter in many ways. You can come to meetings, holiday and surgery watch parties, do group community service, become an officer, and you can even compete at HOSA state competition and go on to Nationals,” McCrorey said.
Students who hold officer positions in HOSA do a majority of the planning work for events and meetings.
“We do not hold regular meetings with all group members but our officers meet on a regular basis and organize events for the members, “ PLTW Biomedical teacher and HOSA advisor Alicia Leimkuehler said.
Because HOSA caters to the pursuits of the group as a whole, subjects and fields of study can vary from year to year.
“This year the students have been interested in surgery so we have been watching and learning about different surgeries,” Leimkuehler said. “During our surgery watch parties we gather to watch surgical procedures and learn more about the process and technique.”
HOSA isn’t only about scalpels and surgeries either.
“We have a strong interest in developing leadership skills through volunteerism and work with local organizations to provide volunteer opportunities for our members,” Leimkuehler said. “In honor of Heart Health Awareness month in February, we watched a couple heart surgery procedures. The officers also planned and hosted a Valentine’s Day party to serve as a social opportunity for members to play Valentine’s themed games, win prizes, and just celebrate the holiday.”
The diversity of the program is what engages members.
“What I like is that even though HOSA is targeted towards future health professionals, we try and incorporate types of volunteer work like Harvester’s and adopt-a-family,” Cole said.
Similar to a Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) competition, the HOSA State competition is one of the highlights of the year.
“The main thing we do in HOSA is the state competion, which is when a bunch of people from HOSA go to an overnight trip at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and compete in a health related event,” Cole said.
There are many aspects to the competition.
“Each spring, we go to state competition and then qualifying students- those that place in the top 3 of the events- get to go to International Competition in June. We have taken students to Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida. This year, International Leadership Conference (ILC) is being held in Dallas and I am optimistic that we will have attendees,” Leimkuehler said.
These competitions contain a variety of events, so students can choose how compete.
“Students compete in events such as medical terminology, pathophysiology, medical law and ethics, researched persuasive speaking, sports medicine, medical reading, physical therapy, and veterinary science to name a few,” Leimkuehler said.
As a student organization, the main goal for the BSHS HOSA chapter is to provide opportunities to prepare students to be successful and develop a passion for healthcare.
“You can be exposed to new ideas and find new interests in the broad area of medicine,” McCrorey said. “Being a competitive member or being an officer helps build teamwork and leadership skills that can really help you in any future career.”