8th Graders Explore Healthcare Careers at New Jersey SEEDS’ Annual Hospital Day

Newark, NJ—May 20, 2013—On April 13, 88 eighth grade students had the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals at an annual “Hospital Day” event. The students who participated were enrolled in New Jersey SEEDS, a nonprofit organization that changes children’s lives by creating access to exceptional educational opportunities.

SEEDS’ students were split into two groups and attended sessions at Hackensack University Medical Center (Hackensack, NJ) or Morristown Medical Center (Morristown, NJ). The objective of the annual event was to allow SEEDS Scholars to explore potential future career paths and introduce Scholars to different professionals working in the medical field.

During the five and a half hour visit, students shadowed healthcare professionals from a variety of specialties, before participating in medical ethics discussions. Scholars had the opportunity to observe doctors, nurses, technicians and others in the operating room, NICU, gastroenterology department, pharmacy, pediatrics ward, and lab, just to name a few.

As part of the ethics case studies, students discussed several scenarios with hospital professionals: a 90 year-old woman who is found to be profoundly anemic, but does not want diagnostic studies done; an elderly woman with cancer whose family does not want her to be told the diagnosis; and a 16 year-old male athlete with bone cancer whose best chance for survival is an amputation he does not want. Before the event ended, students spent time in a workshop designed to explore the preparation needed for a career in healthcare.

“Hospital Day is a great way for our Scholars to explore the worlds of medicine and healthcare,” says Ronni Denes, President of New Jersey SEEDS. “At a time when careers in health related fields are growing faster than employment overall, this is a terrific opportunity for students to learn about possibilities for the future. We are incredibly grateful to all those involved at Hackensack University and Morristown Medical Centers for giving these talented young people an up close and personal look at their work. It’s a real inspiration.”

“HackensackUMC values the importance of educating our future healthcare leaders, and I am pleased to be part of a team that participates in this Hospital Day event,” said Kevin A. Slavin, section chief of Quality and Safety, Infectious Disease Division, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC. “Offering these students a glimpse into real-life situations teaches invaluable lessons to these enthusiastic participants.”

“This is my fifth year organizing and participating in the NJ SEEDS Hospital Day, and my first year as the primary organizer of the event,” says Dr. Maria E. Perez, Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center. “Each year, I am amazed at how hardworking and gifted the students are. Hospital Day is a fantastic opportunity for the students to explore careers in healthcare, and it allows them to get a ‘behind the scenes’ view that most eighth graders do not get to experience. Working with such wonderful students motivates me to continue to be a part of this program, and I hope that we can serve as even a small inspiration to them no matter which career path they ultimately choose.  We look forward to continuing this annual event for many years to come.”

Photos of the students attending Hospital Day at Morristown Medical Center are available here and a group shot of students at Hackensack University Medical Center can be found here.

SEEDS Scholars are enrolled in a rigorous 14-month academic program. After completion of the program this summer, Scholars will be placed in independent schools across the country with robust financial aid packages.

About New Jersey SEEDS

Since its inception more than 20 years ago, New Jersey SEEDS has provided educational access for highly motivated, low-income students and created a viable path for them to achieve their full potential. SEEDS strives for a world in which young people’s initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status. To date, nearly 2,000 scholars have benefitted from its programs. For more information, visit www.seedsaccess.org.