West Point Health Sciences Prepares Students with Hands-On Experience

Jailaih Gowdy

West Point Health Sciences Students- group shotThe health sciences classes at West Point High School stay busy in their community throughout the semester year giving the students opportunities to see many aspects of health care.

Projects such as job shadowing health professionals at the North MS Medical Center and participating in the Emergency Management Shooter Drill and MS Youth Preparedness Initiative (MyPI) allow students to receive firsthand experience in the health-care career field.

Students visit the North MS Medical Center once a week to shadow a health-care professional from different departments to learn about all positions available in health care. There are a few students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, and this provides them with the knowledge of different jobs offered in the field.

Larissa Ziegelmann, health sciences instructor, works closely with health-care professionals within the community and with Clay County MSU Extension agent, Natalie Ray. Ziegelmann says their team efforts ensure the successfulness of this program.

“I could not have done any of this myself. Natalie Ray and I work closely with other educators, hospital staff, nursing home staff, and emergency management director for our county, law enforcement, and the fire department to coordinate these projects,” said Ziegelmann.

Ray coordinates the MyPI program for students, which allows them to become teen CERT members. The program informs students about possible disasters and potential ways to help the community if it occurs. This coincided well with the Emergency Management Shooter Drill program.

For the Emergency Management Shooter Drill, a police officer visited the CTE center to moulage or apply fake injuries through make-up to, 12 students as victims of the drill. During the drill they witnessed firsthand the duties of an emergency responder such as: sizing up the scene, triage, rapid treatment, and some were transported and treated at the hospital.

Hannah Myers, a junior, enjoyed the experience at the hospital and witnessing health-care professionals perform in disaster situations.

"I enjoyed receiving treatment at the hospital and seeing how the nurses and physicians preform under pressure," said Myers.

Some students plan to pursue a career in nursing and enrolled at East Mississippi Community College and the Mississippi College for Women where they are taking the prerequisites for the nursing program. Other students plan to become physicians and are applying for the physician internship offered this summer to learn more about the career, and through their experiences in health sciences they have a better idea of what these future careers include.

West Point Health Sciences student participating in active shooter drillWest Point health sciences student participating in active shooter drill


Connections is the magazine for K-12 career and technical education (CTE) in Mississippi. The biannual publication features students, educators, schools, and organizations from approximately 50 career pathways across 16 career clusters. This Mississippi Department of Education publication is produced by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Issues are disseminated in print and electronic forms in May and December each year.

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