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Former HOSA students share their journeys

Megan Jones Gibson shares what HOSA taught her with current members of the group.

Megan Jones Gibson shares what HOSA taught her with current members of the group.

Recently, the Crenshaw County Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) received a visit from Megan Jones Gibson, one of their former members, to hear about how HOSA prepared her for the real world tasks of college and the medical field.

“Megan spoke to our internship students about how to prepare for and succeed in college, what a typical day is like for a med school student and the benefits of being a future healthcare professional,” said Becky Cornelius, health science teacher for Crenshaw County Schools and HOSA advisor.

“Sisters Mallory Jones and Megan Jones Gibson were excellent health science/HOSA students when they were in high school, and they always went above and beyond normal expectations of a high school student.”

Gibson, a 2009 graduate of Luverne High School, first found her interests pulling toward the medical field after participating in a mission trip to Guatemala. It was here that she saw the impact medical teams could have on rural communities.

“Through this trip, I discovered the rewarding and exciting nature of caring for the medical needs of others,” Gibson said.

After graduating from LHS, Gibson then attended Troy University and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in biomedical science.

“I was honored to be accepted into the Rural Medicine Program of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). In addition to standard medical school classes, this program prepares its participants to serve the healthcare needs of rural areas in Alabama,” she said.

“I am now in my second year of medical school at UAB and will graduate in 2019. Through these programs, I have had a countless number of very meaningful healthcare experiences. These include shadowing with Dr. Tompkins in Luverne, visiting hospitals in Costa Rica and my current activities at UAB hospital.”

Gibson attributes much of her success to her time in HOSA, and believes that her time spent in the program thoroughly prepared her for what was ahead of her in her career field.

“HOSA most definitely had a positive impact on my passion and knowledge about the medical field,” she said.

“HOSA at Luverne High School provided me with opportunities to shadow many different healthcare professionals, take classes that increased my understanding of healthcare and to develop professional skills. Mrs. Becky is an outstanding role model for students, and I am very thankful for her encouragement and devotion to her students.”

Along with the success of Gibson, Cornelius notes that Gibson’s sister, Mallory Jones, has also pursued a career in the medical field; she too served as an active

Pictured is Mallory Jones with Dr.  Jack Hawkins, Jr. ,  Chancellor of  Troy University,  when she was named Who’s  Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Pictured is Mallory Jones with Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. , Chancellor of Troy University, when she was named Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

member of HOSA.

From a young age, Jones was told that she would one day grow up to be a doctor. After joining HOSA, she soon realized those thoughts were exactly true.

“My grandfather passed away when I was three years old. I have essentially no memories of him, but everyone in my family always told me that he said I would grow up smart and be a doctor,” Jones said.

“This was my initial inspiration that lead to me joining HOSA in high school, which furthered my love for the medical field.”

Jones is currently a junior at Troy University and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science.

“I have gotten to shadow Dr. Tompkins both in his office and at the Crenshaw Community Hospital. I also work in the Emergency Room at the Hospital as an ER Technician,” she said.

“It’s really the perfect job for someone aspiring to become a doctor. I’ve gotten clinical experience and also shadowing time with the ER doctors.”

Just like her older sister, Jones attributes much of her success to the HOSA program.

“In HOSA, we studied many different things that have helped me in my college classes—anatomy, medical terminology, medical abbreviations, etc. I believe HOSA did help show us a realistic picture of what medical atmospheres look like,” she said.

“We did job shadowing in Luverne where we got to spend a day with a health professional in whatever field we were interested. This was a rare and really great experience for us, because most pre-medical students don’t get the opportunity to shadow until they get to college.”

Jones notes that taking part in activities such as the Kid Checks at all three Crenshaw County schools helped give the HOSA students more hands on learning experiences as well.

“Mrs. Becky taught us all how to check vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, etc.) and allowed us to check the kids that came through in the schools,” she said.

“Leading up to Kid Check, we had check offs on our ability to check these vital signs. These check offs taught us how to respond efficiently in a stressful situation, which is essential in the healthcare field.”

Now that both sisters have had the opportunity to participate in real-life medical situations and classes, they both concluded that the most beneficial thing that students can do to be prepared is to shadow healthcare professionals as often as possible.

“Shadowing is so very important, because it gives you an idea of what your life would look like in the health care profession you’re interested in,” Jones said.

“I would definitely put more emphasis on hands on experience. I truly believe that learning hands on skills in my HOSA classes and also working in the Emergency Room have been great for me. It’s what reassures me every day that all the studying and hard work is worth it.”

“The relationships and knowledge that you will receive through shadowing are very valuable in helping you decide your career path and set goals for the future,” Gibson said.

“Most importantly, I would encourage students to stay motivated and determined to reach their goals, despite the challenges and difficult times that will come. I am very thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ and the calling that God has placed on my life. I am thankful for my experiences through HOSA at Luverne High School, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Every teacher dreams of being able to see success stories in the lives of their students, and Cornelius is not exception.

She is proud of what her former students have accomplished, and is excited to see what is on the horizon for those currently enrolled in HOSA.

“I am so proud of the Jones sisters as they are both currently pursuing higher education to become physicians. They are wonderful success stories for our program,” Cornelius said.

“Mallory is working as a Patient Care Tech in the ER at Crenshaw Community Hospital. She is attending Troy University, so my current students could possibly intern under her. It is always a treat to have former students take current students under their wing because they can relate so well.”