Healthcare opportunities, one student at a time

By Jakob Nacanaynay

The new future health professionals club, or more commonly called  HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) club, was created this year in MTHS to promote interest in and allow students to learn more about careers within the healthcare field.

“HOSA is a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO), much like what we’re familiar with at Mountlake Terrace. TSA (Technology Student Association) is the same. FCCLA ( Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is also the same.””

— Jami Wollan

“HOSA is a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO), much like what we’re familiar with at Mountlake Terrace. TSA (Technology Student Association) is the same. FCCLA ( Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) is also the same,” science teacher Jami Wollan, adviser of HOSA said. “It’s a club that brings in a competitive aspect, but it’s really connected with career and technical education (CTE). This one in particular, HOSA, is for future health professionals, so anyone who’s interested in health professions.”

The HOSA club was created by Wollan to fill the void for a healthcare-related extracurricular at MTHS. The club has accumulated 26 members, which Wollan credits to information on the club being spread around and CTSO presentations in STEM-related CTE classes. While other CTSOs such as TSA have events related to medical professions, none of them are purely devoted to medical professions.

“Talking to some of the other CTSO advisers, [HOSA was] just sort of a need at Mountlake Terrace because we have some healthcare-focused classes like anatomy and physiology and biotechnology,” Wollan said. “This really fits better for those classes,” she explained.

In HOSA, students can learn about and compete in a wide range of healthcare-related niches.

“There are knowledge-based competitions, so you could do a test on medical terminology,”  Wollan said. “You could also do skills-based competitions: perform CPR first-aid skills or emergency response skills. There’s a couple of biotech categories. That’s one of the classes that sort of feeds into HOSA: recognizing different tools of the trade, and then making some solutions and dilutions as the competitive skills aspect of it. There’s a whole range of things depending on which kind of healthcare field you are looking to. There’s also team competitions that focus on just educational posters: making displays to educate the community about different healthcare professions or subjects.”

Beyond simply learning about the healthcare field, Wollan hopes students who join can develop the broader skills necessary to start a career and help serve the community.

“You can do interview practices and those kinds of things, so it really prepares them for moving on to that next step of the career world or off to college,” she said. “It’s definitely a service-based club as well. Students have the opportunity to serve our community, whether it’s local MTHS or getting out in the community.”

While Wollan is the adviser, the aim is for the student leadership team to take the lead in making decisions as to the direction of the club going forward and managing committees. The current president is Asher Wheaton, a sophomore.

“So far, I’ve only been president for one meeting because we meet once a month,” Wheaton said. “I helped organize all the individual groups, so we have a group for competition, a group for fundraising and a group for outreach.”

The club plans to also hold fundraising events by selling first aid kits.

“HOSA has decided to sell first aid kits right before the big holidays, so we are going to be selling personalized first aid kits,” Wollan said. “It’s nice, because you just throw it in [your car or backpack], but HOSA is going to be selling those, so they can look forward to that and we would love the support.”

Students in a healthcare-related CTE class, such as anatomy and physiology, sports medicine, or biotechnology, this or last year can still join and compete in the HOSA club. Students not in a healthcare-related CTE class can join as a social or non-competitive members, although there may be a $20 fee. Students on free or reduced lunch will have the fee waived.

Meetings occur once a month on Mondays at 2 p.m. in room 127, with their next meeting taking place on Nov. 22. For more information, students can reach out to Wollan or any students on the leadership staff. HOSA also has an Instagram account, where updates regarding the club are regularly posted and questions are answered.