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RICHARDSON (CBS11) – As the nation ages, the much discussed shortage of healthcare workers is fast moving from nagging concern to full blown crisis. But, local schools like
Richardson ISD’s Health Science Magnet Programs looks to expose, encourage and get teens excited about future careers in healthcare.

“I love this career!” exclaims 16-yearold Hailey Falies. “I’ve been here three weeks and I already know that I’m going to work in a hospital when I’m older.” Falies is already planning for a future in healthcare—and as a RISD Health Science Magnet Junior—the future is now.

“I’ve shadowed nurses. I’ve shadowed scribes who work in the hospital, I’ve shadowed doctors and they all work together so well,” says Falies, “and every job is important in a hospital, no matter what you do.”

Students accepted into the program spend their first couple of years in the classroom. But, experts say there’s nothing quite like that hands on experience and that begins in the junior year. Under the watchful, helpful eyes of Methodist Richardson Medical Center staffers, students interact with patients, learn about medical procedures—and so much more.

“What we try to do through the course of this program is to expose them to all the different kinds of health care professions,” says licensed dietician turned teacher Kathy Lewis, “the high level physician who has many, many years of college and maybe a two year profession that earns a really great salary, and the student just didn’t know that profession existed.”

Abby Spurgeon is a RISD program graduate now working part time at the hospital while she attends UT Dallas. “I think it’s an amazing experience,” says Spurgeon. The college senior says medical school is next—and her magnet school experience helped reassure her that she was making the right choice. “So, you have all this time to learn the background. and then, once you get there– you’re like– you’re either ‘in’ or you’re out.”

Hailey observed her first baby delivery last week—via C-section: she’s definitely ‘in’.

“I almost started crying because it’s such an amazing moment,” recalled Hailey, “this person just had a time in their life that they’re never going to forget and you were a part of that, and that’s just … amazing to know that you’re in that experience.”

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