Harris Health’s LBJ Hospital Staff Mentors Students at HISD School Health Fair

Jones Futures Academy senior Marquinn Booker got an up-close and personal perspective on how to communicate and properly administer a blood pressure check under the supervision of nurses and staff from Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital participating in the school’s Oct. 18 community health fair.

About 50 patients from the South Park and Sunnyside neighborhood got their blood pressure checked, as well as health assessments and screenings for diabetes, vision, pulse and weight. Claudia Herrera, RN, program manager, Hemodialysis, LBJ Hospital, and 20 colleagues—nurses, health educators, dietitians and administrators—mentored the student group.

“I got to find out what kind of problems patients are facing with high blood pressure and help them learn how to control it and manage it,” Booker says.

For teacher Dr. Ksheeraja Saravanan, hearing Booker’s experience at the Senior Citizen Day Health Fair is a major reason for the school’s health science program and why activities like the fair are helpful to students deciding on potential careers in healthcare.

“We teach them the theory of taking care of patients in class, and this experience helps them with hands-on learning,” says the first-year instructor at the school and a medical doctor in her native country of India.

Vickie Johnson, pathway coordinator, Jones Futures Academy, says the collaboration with Harris Health began after a conversation with Nicole Streeter, vice president and chief governance officer, Harris Health Board of Trustees, and a meeting with Chris Okezie, associate administrator, LBJ Hospital, during student tour of the hospital. Okezie and his leadership team visited the school, and the partnership began.

“This is consistent with LBJ Hospital’s strategic vision to partner with our community and be an asset to our neighbors outside of the four walls of the hospital,” Okezie says. “This partnership helps students capture the goals and aspirations of a healthcare profession early in high school. It’s a perfect collaboration for both of our organizations.”

The result is a mentor and shadowing program that started in October at the hospital. The Houston Independent School District school’s health science practicum class of 20 seniors will follow and observe doctors, nurses and other professions in various areas of the hospital.

“We want to expose them to as many options in healthcare as possible,” Saravanan says. “Some may decide they don’t like to interact with patients directly, but can see a career in a supportive field as a consideration.”

Tashiana Roberts-Jackson, clinical resource nurse, Intermediate Medical Unit/Hemodialysis Services, LBJ Hospital, says the partnership with Jones Futures Academy also serves as a community outreach program needed by nursing as they embark on a journey to Magnet Recognition®, a prestigious distinction for nursing excellence in the U.S. If all works well, LBJ Hospital could apply for the designation in 2019.

“We’re excited to help others in the community and mentor the next generation of healthcare professionals,” Roberts-Jackson says. “We’ve had an overwhelming response from staff. We had so many offers of helping that we had to turn some away.”



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