Our Renewed Appreciation for Healthcare Workers
Brooklyn Jones | Maui High School, Class of 2022
One good thing that came from the COVID pandemic was a renewed appreciation for healthcare workers and the people in the medical field. After all, close to everyone here has a friend or family member that had to risk exposure every shift and face the panic at the beginning of lockdown. Now the pandemic is beginning to hit its downward pattern, with a new generation of high school students comes a new generation of future medical workers, inspired by the heroic actions of their predecessors.
Kaysa Ong recalls her fond childhood memories of watching Doc McStuffins, a kid’s television show about a young girl who uses her magic stethoscope to heal her stuffed animal friends. “I remember lining up stuffed animals, pretending they were my patients all coming for a check-up,” she says, just like she saw in the cartoon. Kaysa, now a freshman at Maui High School, has grown a lot since then. She is currently taking a Foundations of Health class and plans on interning as either an optometrist or dermatologist when she becomes an upperclassman. Kaysa explains she can help and interact with people using her sociable, bubbly personality by doing either optometry or dermatology.
Going to the hospital can be a painful experience but if anything, Maui’s Aloha spirit shines bright in our healthcare workers’ welcoming and caring nature.
“Nurses have always made me feel seen, known and provided [for],” says Ricky Nathaniel Villegas. Ricky is fascinated by the highly diverse applications of a nursing degree and feels incredibly excited about the adaptability of this job that is “constantly evolving.” Over the years and especially because of the pandemic, hospitals have changed their policies and organization, and Ricky feels ready for the challenge. He plans on pursuing his dream career at the University of Portland, a college with a strong medical program, to become an operating room nurse with an emphasis on general surgery.
Like Ricky, Camille Haluber’s passion stems from personal experience. She explains that seeing her Dad, a dietary aide, and her mom, a Nurse’s aide, sparked her interest. As a kind and empathetic student, Camille realized she could positively impact her community by following in their footsteps. The senior has risen to the top of the Maui High School’s HOSA – Future Health Professionals club’s Secretary; she loves the organization’s combination of community service, healthcare education and competition. To further her experience, she’s even job-shadowed a local pediatric doctor for her senior project and found she “enjoy[s] working with children and seeing how they progress, both in health and life.”
Maui High’s senior project, a graduation requirement, was an opportunity for many aspiring students to get real-life experience in their chosen field. It helped some realize their career was not a good fit but others could not wait to return to the workplace again. Kristiann Miguel‘s senior project, building a respirator machine, is the perfect bridge for her dream job as a cardiothoracic surgeon. The “clinical and technical skills” needed for the profession were demonstrated by her commitment and expertise in building the machine which impressed the senior project judges. “After high school, I plan on majoring in Biology,” says Kristiann. “My goal is to graduate early and prepare myself for medical school.”
Like other careers in the medical field, surgery is a difficult path. These jobs are not for the faint-hearted; every detail matters when healing and taking care of people. These students, however, choose these jobs because of their innate desire to help others, no matter the challenges ahead. Just like our healthcare professionals are right now, current students pursuing medical careers are determined to make Maui a healthier, happier place.
Google® Is Not Everything … is a monthly column authored by high school students. The title of the column emphasizes education is more than just googling a topic. Google® is a registered trademark. This month’s guest columnist is Brooklyn Jones, a Senior at Maui High School who will enroll at Marist College in the fall. She is an assistant editor in her school’s journalism program, Saber Scribes, and also a member of the Girls Can STEM Club. Brooklyn is in the ACOM Pathway at Maui High, specializing in graphic design. In her free time, she swims for Hawai‘i Swimming Club, bakes and likes to go to the beach. She is the daughter of Melissa Ligot Jones and Darren Jones.