Each year, students of all ages and backgrounds come to the Future Healthcare Professionals’ Experience (FHPE) hosted by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). Led by students and faculty at TTUHSC, the event is a workshop on campus where students interested in careers in health sciences get guided tours and hands-on experience in real on-campus facilities.
“FHPE is a collaborative effort,” says Doris Hereford, Assistant Director of Student Life at TTUHSC, who has facilitated the event for the past three years. “I love being able to collaborate with each of the schools. Each school comes together to showcase their programs and show just how great TTUHSC is.”
An event of this magnitude isn’t just about relaying information—it’s about exploring real possibilities for the future of those attending.
Saturday morning, March 7, 165 students filed into a lecture hall, where a hospital bed and medical equipment were set up at the front of the room.
The day started with a simulation, pulling the high schoolers’ attentions away from their programs and and toward the front of the room. In the scene, nurses and a doctor attended to “patient zero,” who coughed from the hospital bed, describing her respiratory symptoms and explaining that she “recently studied abroad in Hong Kong.” Within the simulation, many different departments and specialties demonstrated their importance as blood tests were taken and x-rays were examined. Each character—all played by the students and faculty at TTUHSC—showed calm, informative displays of knowledge, showcasing many different potential career paths. Even a disease interventionist’s role was examined, as members of the audience (marked by stickers on their programs) came forward as those the patient had been in contact with.
Not only did the topical simulation make the coronavirus look like no cause for alarm, but it also showed just how many professionals in the health care field were required to help one patient heal. Watching these departments work seamlessly together was exactly the introduction that students needed for the day. No matter their particular interest, it was clear that this was the place for them to learn more.
Upstairs from the morning’s introduction, more than 20 resource tables from TTUHSC, Texas Tech University and exhibitors from the West Texas community were set up, all happy to share their insights with students. Materials were available from the Volunteer Center of Lubbock, Princeton Review and Texas Tech’s Army ROTC, among others.
Over the course of this free event, students had an opportunity to tour unique, cutting-edge facilities, and participate themselves in hands-on learning with encouraging faculty and staff.
Tours of the SimLife Center—a multimodality simulation center and state-of-the-art learning environment—showed students what kind of opportunities await them on campus, with authentic medical equipment and advanced simulators. The anatomy lab also gave a peek into the real world of science and medicine. Beyond hearing about the potential of health care careers, these tours of real facilities provided students a new understanding of what medical professions entail.
“If attendees were leaning towards a particular healthcare related profession,” Hereford says, speaking to the program’s mission, “I would hope that we were able to answer all of their questions and help them make an informed decision.”
This is more than a career fair, it’s an experience that generates guided ambitions for pre-health students of all ages. While this year’s workshop might be over, this is an annual event that TTUHSC is proud to offer. Reaching the community and evoking an interest in the future health care workforce is a huge part of what drives the Health Sciences Center. As the event wrapped up, students walked away with fresh new insights on how to pursue their individual goals.