HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Healthcare students at the Houston County Career Academy can now get hands on experience working at the Houston Medical Center.

Thanks to a new partnership with Houston Healthcare, 14 students from all five high schools in the county have the chance to work between 5-15 hours depending on their school hours.

Principal Sabrina Phelps said the goal is to get students into a working hospital and allow them to decide if this is a career path they want to continue.

The healthcare track is nothing new at HCCA, but being able to work in a hospital is something Phelps says they've been working on for years.

Angela Miller is a senior at Warner Robins High School and a student at HCCA. She says she started taking care of her grandmother at a young age and that it's what pushed her towards nursing. 

Miller said taking the classes and now being in the internship program has given her the experience that she needs to continue her nursing path.

Stephanie Burch is a healthcare science teacher and a certified athletic trainer. She says she wants to show her students there is more to the healthcare profession than just doctors and nurses. 

"I hope that I exposed them to a new career pathway and I hope that for both the parents and the students that it’s not a waste of time, whether they go to tech school or college, they know for sure this is what I want to do," Burch said.

There is nothing better than hands-on experience for any type of career you want to go into, according to Burch.

"I don't care if that person has 100 in the class, if they can't do skills and make the patient feel comfortable, that's what most of us want as a patient, so the skills aspect is what I love the most about this school," she said.

Burch said most of her students are tenth and eleventh graders. 

HCCA offers three different pathways within the healthcare track: sports medicine, a certified nursing assistant program, and emergency medical responders.

Samiya Dent started watching ER shows when she was little and now she has the chance to see how much of what you see on TV is true. 

"I really love helping little children in the medical field, so being in the pediatric center at Houston Medical has really been a blessing," said Dent.

Dent said this program, along with having Burch as her teacher, have made all the difference in choosing a career path.

"She really showed me that I can do this and this is the field I do want to be in," said Dent.

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