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Learning the ropes: Students shadow hospital workers

Lorenzo James, a senior at Eastside High School and the Newton College & Career Academy, worked with the engineering department at Newton Medical Center on Tuesday as part of Healthcare Job Shadow Day. Hospital worker Kevin Richards showed him how to change exit sign light bulbs at one point during the day. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Lorenzo James, a senior at Eastside High School and the Newton College & Career Academy, worked with the engineering department at Newton Medical Center on Tuesday as part of Healthcare Job Shadow Day. Hospital worker Kevin Richards showed him how to change exit sign light bulbs at one point during the day. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

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John Shaw, lead histologist at Newton Medical Center, shows junior Sean Dorisme, who attends Eastside High School, how to look at a slide under the microscope in the lab.

COVINGTON — Nearly two dozen students shadowed workers at Newton Medical Center this week.

The Newton County School System and NMC teamed up on Tuesday to hold a Healthcare Job Shadow Day for 23 students in various fields.

Students from all three Newton County high schools and the Newton College & Career Academy interested in health care, business, engineering and other careers had a chance to shadow employees for half a day.

“It’s become very popular,” said Theresa Kuhn, a health care instructor at NCCA.

She said at least 30 students applied for slots.

Debra Lary, youth apprenticeship coordinator at NCCA, said she hopes to hold a second job shadow day for more interested students. Additionally, the food services department at the hospital is trying to organize an internship program after speaking with students at NCCA earlier this year.

On Tuesday, students worked in medical records, the emergency department, physical therapy, dietary, the BirthCare Center, nursing, engineering and radiology, among other departments. Some worked with patients and others practiced with equipment or learned about the department. Before they began, they learned about hospital codes and confidentiality.

Ny’Tauja McKinnon, a 10th-grader at Newton High School, worked in the physical therapy department, learning how to interact with patients and the equipment the department uses.

“I play sports, and I get hurt a lot, and I would like to help people,” she said about her interest in the field.

The basketball player hopes to get a summer internship at the hospital this year.

Not all students had to be interested in medicine to participate in the job shadow day. Senior Lorenzo James, who attends Eastside High School and NCCA, worked in engineering, learning about maintenance around the hospital.

“I think it’s great for young people to see a variety of jobs and how we keep things functioning properly,” said Kevin Richards, who works in building engineering at the hospital.

Rising 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students interested in applying for the summer junior volunteer program at the hospital can apply at www.newtonmedical.com under volunteer services. Applications are due by April 5, and classes are scheduled for June or July.