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Students Forge a Pathway in Healthcare

Gunnison Valley Health has collaborated with Gunnison High School and Crested Butte Community School to bring the first medical pathways program to the Valley.

Gunnison Valley Health’s CEO Rob Santilli said the medical pathways program is an opportunity for students in grades 9 to 12 to experience what the healthcare industry has to offer.

“Many students believe that working in a hospital means you must be a doctor or nurse,” said Mr. Santilli. “The medical pathways program is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on learning experience in a range of different careers related to healthcare.”

Every two weeks for two hours over the last four months, 25 students actively participated in the program, rotating through 12 different departments within Gunnison Valley Health’s healthcare system. The departments included from physical therapy, laboratory, surgery, cardiopulmonary, radiology, integrative therapies, medical coding, nutrition, oncology, CPR and nursing.

Gunnison High Schools Counselor Sarah Marcort said the medical pathways program has provided those students with an interest in the healthcare industry the exact introduction they needed.

“Students who completed this program are ready for more,” said Ms. Marcort. “One student who presented her experience about the program beamed the entire time when talking about her interested fields of surgery, physical therapy and phlebotomy. The program has given her the desire to learn more about healthcare as a pathway and has provided her with the career exploration she was looking for. GHS students are hoping the program will continue next year,” she said.

Gunnison Valley Health’s Director of Marketing Kylie Murgatroyd said the feedback about the program from the counselors, students and parents has been very positive.

“The program was subsidized by Gunnison Valley Health; however it required the time commitment from the students,” said Ms. Murgatroyd.

“For students to gain the connection with what they are learning in school and how it relates to jobs in the healthcare industry is rewarding,” she said.

“Hearing that the students were excited to participate in the program every two weeks is a credit to our department directors for making the program a fun, hands-on learning experience.”

Ultimately, the goal of the program is to not only showcase different pathways in the healthcare industry, but to hopefully one day see the students working at Gunnison Valley Health.

“One person can make a difference to a student’s career decision,” said Mr. Santilli. “I hope that one day I will see a staff member working at Gunnison Valley Health who participated in our medical pathways program. For me, that would be a highlight of my career,” he said.