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Students explore health careers

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A career in the medical field is not restricted to patient care, students learned during a Health Careers Symposium last week.

During a panel discussion, Rhonda Katzdorn, a human relations professional from Delta County Memorial Hospital, explained that the hospital and its clinics offer 230 different positions, from IT to maintenance to laboratory personnel.

The symposium was held at Delta-Montrose Technical College and was open to the college's practical nursing and CNA students, as well as community members and area high school students interested in pursuing a health career.

At the breakout session titled "Beyond the Bedside: Non-nursing Related Health Careers," Katzdorn and panelists from the Delta and Montrose hospitals reported demand is very high for speech/occupational/physical therapists, registered dietitians, surgical technicians, personal care providers and phlebotomists.

While it takes a great deal of time and commitment to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy, a certificate as a surgery technician can be obtained in just two years. The same holds true for therapy aides and assistants. Certificate-level programs offer "great bang for the educational buck," panel members agreed. A great start to any career is CNA certification, which can serve as a jumping off point for a multitude of career paths.

Job shadowing is another great way to determine if a career in health care is the right choice. The human resources professionals at Delta County Memorial Hospital and Montrose Memorial Hospital match students with health care professionals in their fields of interest.

Local organizers teamed up with the University of Colorado's School of Medicine, Rural Health Programs, to present symposium, which was titled "Unique Needs and Opportunities in Rural Health."

The keynote speaker was Jennifer Hellier, Ph.D., an assistant professor and the director of Colorado Health Professions Development Programs.

Breakout sessions featured panel members from Delta County Memorial Hospital, Montrose Memorial Hospital, Colorado Mesa University, Delta-Montrose Technical College, A Kidz Clinic, The Pic Place, PACE, River Valley Family Health Center, Volunteers of America, Delta County Ambulance District, Pediatric Associates, U.S. Navy, HopeWest, Center for Mental Health, Western Colorado Area Health Education Center and ProSpace Interiors.

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Health careers, School
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