Staff members at Staten Island University Hospital are trying to give high school students interested in medical careers a closer look at their options. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
Staten Island University Hospital surgeon Vance Moss is one of several health care professionals walking students of the borough's high schools through various disciplines in the medical field.
"Some of the things that I wish were translated to me as I was growing up and learning the trade of medicine was the reality of what it's like being out there," Moss says.
It's part of the hospital's lecture series for teens, prompted in part by students itching for more information as they prepare for college.
"Our courses are basically focused on kind of not the fields available to us today, so the topics that we selected are amongst the ones that students said are most interested," says Jasmine Lee, a senior at Staten Island Tech. "So they'll be able to see what kind of opportunities are available for them."
Moss, an expert in laparoscopic or robotic surgery, discussed the growing role of technology in medicine, but not before touching on the obstacles that await them: 10-plus years of grueling study and upwards of $200,000 in medical school debt.
"It's better for them to hear it now because the worst thing that could happen is they spend a lot of money and invest a lot of time and energy, and then find out that this field is going to require a significant amount of your time, passion."
Many of the high school students here remained undeterred, happy to get details about possible careers.
The lecture also covered how robotics are used even behind the pharmacy counter.
"I came because I'm interested in pharmacy today," says Raina Pagan, a senior at Tottenville High School. "Actually, he made me want to do it even more."
As more Americans gain access to health care, the need for professionals in the field is only growing.
"We tell our kids in high school to choose a career, but they have no work experience. They have no idea what they really want to do in their lives," says Ann McDonough, senior director of SIUH Rehab Development. "Everybody knows that the doctor and a nurse are in the hospital, but they have no idea of the breadth and the depth of the careers that are here."
So far, the series, with lectures twice a month, has been a hit.
"Week by week, it only grows bigger and bigger, so I hope that kids are learning more and more," says Ryan Sipp, a senior at Tottenville High School.
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