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Local high school students get hands-on experience in medical field

Posted: 5:30 PM, Oct 23, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-23 19:29:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some high school students from Manual Career and Technical Center are getting early starts to their careers at Truman Medical Centers. 

The program, called Pathways to Nursing, is getting students ready for the medical field before they cross the graduation stage. 

For Don’Za Taylor, a senior who is in the program, his dream is to become a traveling nurse. 

“I was alone most of my childhood,” Taylor said. “Nobody was there to help me so I wanted to better myself to better other people.”

The Pathways to Nursing program is a semi-residency that links students with mentors at Truman Medical.

“I told the students the first week when they started,” said Niki Lee Donawa, Chief Communications Relations Officer for Truman Medical Centers. “I told them you know what, this is going to be fun, but it's going to be hard.”

With an inside look into the medical field and working with their mentors, students like Taylor get the chance to see what their career can look like first hand. 

“I mean I much rather be here than in a classroom,” Taylor said. “These activities are actually going to lead me to success; it's training me." 

Donawa said the program will bring more students from all backgrounds to become more involved in the healthcare field. 

“It is very important that our staff population mirrors our patient population,” Donawa said. “So there's been a shortage, not only in Kansas City, but in other areas of African American and people of color in the medical field. This is an opportunity to fill that pipeline.”

While these sessions won’t be easy, Taylor refuses to put a halt on his dreams.

“For me to take this step, you know, people never saw this coming,” Taylor said. “So for people to never see this coming, and me striving for more, I just want to surprise more people, to show them I can do it even more.”

Donawa said once students complete the program and pass certain requirements, students could leave with a job.