Lake Forest, Illinois,
17:00 PM

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Department of Nursing Launches Scholarship and Mentorship Program for Local Students Planning a Career in Healthcare

DYNAMIC Program Photo

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS - The Department of Nursing at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital launched a new program for graduates of North Chicago High School attending the College of Lake County in a health care career track. The Directing Youth Navigating a Medical Career in the Community (DYNAMIC) program was created to assist graduates to pursue a degree in health sciences, receive mentoring and guidance throughout their studies, and procure employment with Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital upon graduation. Selected students receive financial assistance at the College of Lake County in one of several pre-approved health science degrees. Throughout the student’s tenure at the college, they are provided professional mentorship and exposure to the hospital. Upon graduation, the student will interview and be eligible to be hired by Northwestern Medicine. Students in the program must plan to pursue one of seven approved health sciences degrees at the College of Lake County. Those include:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Emergency Medical Technology
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Imaging
  • Nursing
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Surgical Technology

“Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital believes that investing in local talent is critical, and a structured mentorship program helps connect individuals to build relationships, develop professionally, build skills and expertise and prepare for a legacy of strong performance and leadership,” said Karen Mahnke, Bernthal Family Chief Nurse Executive at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. “Mentorship is proven to yield benefits for mentors and mentees on both sides of the table.”

Benefits of the program include:

  • Building relationships and improving collaboration
  • Expanding awareness of health system
  • Developing professional skills and competencies
  • Advancing career potential
  • Enhancing individual and organizational performance

Edgar Vergara, 19, of North Chicago, knew he wanted to join the healthcare field, so immediately applied when he learned about the opportunity at school. “I knew that I would receive more than just financial backing for college,” Vegara said. “Getting paired with a mentor in the field you want to be in is so valuable. They take you through what an average day looks like for them, and gives you an in-depth look at what they work on day-to-day. Receiving job security once school is completed also takes a huge stress off of my shoulders, and I can just focus on the actual experience, which is fantastic.”

Mark Bon, RN, of Waukegan, served as Vegara’s mentor, and works in the medical oncology unit at the hospital. He was pleased to see that there were opportunities in his community encouraging students to pursue their careers in healthcare. “I really enjoyed working with Edgar, and introducing him to what it is like to be a working nurse in a hospital setting,” said Bon. “I was able to share some of my personal experiences in both school and the workplace, and hope I’ve inspired him to seek a successful nursing career in the near future.”