Health First is one of Brevard’s largest employer
Health First’s Chief Experience Officer personally welcomes youngest intern class to hospital system, vows ‘We’ll stay connected with you.’
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – One industry that promises to keep pace with innovation and demand is healthcare, and the youngest crop of Health First interns are eager to get started.
Earlier this month, Health First Chief Experience Officer Paula Just personally welcomed aboard a group of Brevard Public Schools’ high school seniors who’ve won internships.
She greeted them with a gift bag, a certificate and balloons. Each meeting observed system standards for masking and social distancing.
“I’ve always been interested in the science behind medicine and in helping people,” said Emma Morris, a senior at Viera High School.
“I’m hoping that coming to Health First will help me plan better my future in healthcare,” said Tiana Woodard, a senior at Cocoa High School, who said she’s considering radiology and is already dual-enrolled at Eastern Florida State College.
“After a medical operation I had four years ago, seeing the care I got, I hope to work with patients like that,” said Jordan Dougherty, a Heritage High School senior.
These interns will be with Health First roughly 10 hours a week for the entirety of the school year. Each role is individualized based on the students’ own plans. To get the spots, candidates were exposed to the interview and onboarding process similar to any Associate.
Henry Jones, 17, had already begun his internship and could say with certainty the work “has been pretty fun.”
“My mom really wanted me to do this because she said it’s a good opportunity to see how it is actually working in an office.”
The Space Coast Junior-Senior High School senior is working in the health system’s Human Resources department – a nice change of pace from his other job as a host and server at Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill. He’s interested in working with computers but aspires to eventually become a real estate investor.
“We anticipate helping the students with real-life working experience, career exploration, workplace tips for success and understanding how a team functions to care for our customers,” says Melanie Shatzer, Vice President, Community Health Services and Learning at Health First.
“We want to make it a success, grow it in the future – and we hope students think about these careers earlier in their pre-college plans.”
Turns out, parents have a few hopes and dreams for these internship experiences as well.
“I want her to meet people who are engaged in the things that she’s interested in,” said Jordan’s mom, Melissa, herself a healthcare professional.
“She’s already interested in the care side, but I want her to see how it actually works and to have a job that broadens her understanding beyond a fast-food job.”
“We hope you have a great internship experience,” Paula Just told the interns. “We’ll want to talk to you about opportunities for scholarships, and we’ll stay connected to you.”
Brevard County Schools Career and Technical Education has made internships one of its top priorities, said Grace Svitak-Norton, Work-Based Learning Specialist.
“This internship experience is designed to give students an opportunity to integrate occupational and applied academic learning and to apply knowledge and skills learned in a classroom to actual work situations. We are excited to partner with Health First,” she said.
“We are thrilled for our students to have this opportunity to explore their future career paths and develop connections to the workforce.”
Health First is one of the county’s largest employers, with four hospitals and Health First Medical Group, the largest multi-specialty physician group on the Space Coast.
The Integrated Delivery Network also offers numerous outpatient and wellness services, including Health First Aging Services, Health First Pro-Health & Fitness Center, Home Care and Hospice of Health First.
With about 9,000 Providers and associates, Health First employs many kinds of career professionals.
To find opportunities, visit Careers.HF.org.