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Northwestern Medicine’s Discovery Program Invites Local McHenry Students to Learn About the Roles of Healthcare Professionals and Gain Healthcare Experience

NM Huntley Hospital Discovery Program

Huntley, IL-Twenty-five local McHenry County students interested in nursing recently spent their Saturday at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, learning about the various roles that nurses play in each hospital unit. The participants applied and were selected to participate through the Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program, a healthcare mentoring program for local students. During the day, students had the opportunity to practice hands-on skills, including practicing cardiac CPR simulation.

The Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program aims to create a pathway for the next generation of healthcare leaders by drawing on the talents of the Northwestern Medicine team of healthcare professionals to provide STEM career exploration opportunities. The program is designed for students who otherwise may not have access these opportunities. Throughout the program, students are exposed to a broad range of healthcare careers through tours, guest speakers, group discussion, and hands-on projects. In addition, the program fosters character and professional development, cultivates life skills, provides community service and leadership experience, and offers mentorship and networking opportunities.

“I enjoyed going around the hospital, getting the feel of it, and seeing how people need to cooperate to help others and the tools they have at their disposal, said Maximo Soto Morales, a senior at Crystal Lake South High School. “I enjoyed doing the CPR because the mannequin we used has a different feel from the CPR dummies we used in middle school as a learning activity. It had heartbeats to mimic a real person and also had lungs moving up and down.”

The Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program also provides the staff an opportunity to share what they do and why their role is so essential for optimal patient care. “The Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program provides an opportunity for students to really understand what the different roles in healthcare actually do," said Dave Chiliki, RN, manager of clinical practice and development at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital. “I think students don't always know what these roles are doing on a daily basis and only know what they see in movies or TV. This program really helps these students find a future path to a career in healthcare. As a staff member, the program also helps to share the why of your role and why you enjoy what you do. It's very rewarding to hear their questions and tell them things they never knew about being a nurse.”

The Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program currently has six chapters. Program locations will vary based on chapter. The northwest chapter meetings are held once a month at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Woodstock Hospital. Applications for the next upcoming program will be available beginning in August and are due in September 2023.

For those interested in applying and for eligibility information, please go to Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program Northwest Chapter | Northwestern Medicine.

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