Earlier this year we wrapped up our first Annual Talent Forecast, and unsurprisingly, the largest demand in our region was for registered nurses, with around 1,800 RN positions reported to be needing filled over the next two years. And while nurses and direct care providers are a critical piece of the healthcare puzzle, there is an unseen army of logistics professionals that support the thousands of nurses and doctors who provide that care for patients in our region.
In fact, Philip Smith, UnityPoint Health – Peoria’s Director of Supply Chain, expects up to 20% of their logistics staff to be retiring in the next five years. Luckily, the UnityPoint Health – Methodist | Proctor Human Resources department is looking towards the future and creating new opportunities to expose students to the lucrative logistics careers within their healthcare system. As part of their new high school internship program created through the GPEDC’s Greater Peoria Works initiative.
Ysenia Scott, a senior at Peoria High, is on the cutting edge as UnityPoint Health – Peoria’s first high school logistics intern.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue a healthcare career and I had no idea what logistics was when I applied,” said Ysenia. “But now when I go to the doctor’s office, I look around and recognize all the different supplies and know what they’re used for. I even know the ‘rec’ numbers for some of them. It’s funny!”
“Just like everyone else, we’re looking for talent,” said Philip. “It’s so important for students to emerge from high school and college prepared with the skills to be valuable in the workplace. This has been a great opportunity for our department to introduce students to a lucrative career in healthcare logistics that they have never even thought about as well as playing an active role in building their professional skills.”
Ysenia works about ten hours each week and assists the supply chain staff in preparing and delivering supplies throughout the hospital and staffing the supply window to fill critical orders for nurses and doctors.
“Sometime the nurses and doctors call the supplies different names, like they’re speaking a different language, so I’ve had the chance to really improve my communication skills,” she said.
This is Ysenia’s first job, and she admits that being thrown into a role with such responsibility proved a bit intimidating, but she’s risen to the challenge and learned some great lessons.
“Most of the nurses and doctors have just asked me if I’m new. No one even knows I’m a high school student,” Ysenia said with a smile. Outside of her regular work duties, she also has the opportunity to shadow physicians. Recently she met with an anesthesiologist, which is a career she aims to pursue.
“This experience has been the farthest possible from the stereotypical thought of an intern, the ones where they’re always at your door or that you have to always be looking over their shoulder,” said Philip. “Ysenia always comes in with a smile and a positive attitude, has been excellent in communicating with myself and her supervisor. It’s been a great experience for everyone on our team.”
As for Ysenia, she’s off to North Carolina to begin her undergrad towards a career as an anesthesiologist, but not before promising to stay in touch with Philip and her supervisor at UnityPoint Health.
Ysenia also had a word for employers and students interested in internships.
“For employers, I would ask them to be open-minded. We’re your future workforce and these opportunities will give us more insight into what careers we’re interested in and better prepare us for them,” she said. “For students, just do it! It’s a great experience and it will help you identify if a certain career is right for you.”
If you are interested in learning more about GP Pathways, or how you can participate, please send questions to Brent Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org