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Students exploring medicine
Program at Northside begins in September
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Students in the Learning for Life health care explorer program at Northside Hospital-Forsyth will learn about newborn care. The program begins Sept. 7, and interested students must register by Sept. 3. - photo by Autumn McBride
At a glance

The Learning for Life Health Care Explorer program at Northside Hospital is open to high school students interested in entering the medical field. There is a $50 cost, which includes registration fees, materials, a T-shirt and CPR certification. Interested students must register by Sept. 3 and attend the kickoff meeting Sept. 7. For more information, call (770) 989-2874 or (770) 667-4297, e-mail, or visit

Northside Hospital wants to give a group of high school students a taste of medicine.

The hospital has joined with Learning for Life to offer a health care explorer program designed for high schoolers to gain hands-on experience in the medical industry.

“We want to reach out to a new generation of potential health care professionals to show them many career options available in the health care industry,” said Kelli Buchwald, Northside’s community relations manager.

“It will give teens a glimpse of many different hospital careers.”

Between its Forsyth, Atlanta and Alpharetta campuses, the Northside students will have classes covering radiology, robotic surgery, internal medicine, respiratory care and women’s services. They also will earn CPR certification.

The eight-month program features one class each month beginning Sept. 30, with graduation set for April 28.

The national program is about 60 years old, but this is the first time Northside has been asked to participate.

Katie Huber, Learning for Life spokeswoman, said the program also introduces students to other fields, including law enforcement and architecture.

“It helps the children in the community,” she said. “It helps give them experience that will help them hopefully in college and in their career.

“It gives them an inside look in something they’re interested in. It gives them insight into if this is something they want to follow or if this is not for them.”

Amanda Springfield, a registered nurse at the Northside Hospital-Forsyth Women’s Center, has previously worked with the facility’s Volunteen program. She said the experience can be just as exciting for her as it is for the students who shadow her.

“They come in and they’re excited and motivated and they want to learn,” Springfield said. “It kind of reminds you of what it was like when you first started.”

Debbie Wooster, clinical supervisor of the women’s center, said the maternity area is a favorite for volunteer students.

“Most of them are interested in the babies,” she said. “For the most part, this is a fun place to work. Some students are more interested than others. Some jump in and are ready to go.”

The explorer program is open to as many as 40 students interested in pursuing a health care career.

“We want to reach out to a new generation of potential health care professionals to show them the many career options available,” she said.
“Hopefully, some of the teens may come back to work at Northside in the future.”

Added Wooster: “We need people coming into the health care field as the oldie goldies here get ready to retire.”