- Sponsorship -

New partnership brings health care career course to students

Wyoming, Kent ISD — Wyoming High School senior Precious Smith-Bell used sterile surgical threads and needle driver to make a perfect stitch on a banana peel.

“We have a surgeon over here,” said science teacher Stephanie Rathsack

While her banana appeared as if it was dressing up for Halloween, Precious focused on how the peel resembled the human body’s biggest organ as she gave it sutures, commonly called stitches. 

“It’s similar to the layers of the skin we actually have — the epidermis, dermis, and the epithelia,” said Precious of the fruit’s tough but porous peel. 

What she finds appealing about the new Applied Anatomy and Physiology class is the chance to prepare for a career in nursing. Offered at Wyoming High School through a new partnership with Kent ISD, the class is opening doors to healthcare careers of all kinds.

Co-taught by science teacher Stephanie Rathsack and Kent Career Technical Center teacher Lisa Coin, the class brings a Tech Center option to students at their own school.

“I think it’s giving students who wouldn’t necessarily think about (the Tech Center) as an option now,” Coin said. “Students are exposed to a lot of the same things that we do at (the Tech Center) in the Health Care Foundations Program.”

A new lab at Wyoming, similar to one at the Tech Center, is allowing students to learn basic care in a hospital-like setting, practicing as “patient” and “health care worker.” 

“It’s so cool to see their eyes light up,” said Coin as students worked on their suturing skills. “They are really seeing the application of what they are learning.”

“It’s really giving them a great foundation for what health care is like.”

Kent ISD Health Care Foundations teacher Lisa Coin assists students

Dual Enrollment and Certifications

Fifty juniors and seniors are enrolled in the class, through which they can earn a Ferris State University credit in medical terminology. Juniors can continue at the Tech Center next year as seniors in Health Sciences programs and earn certifications that qualify them to practice in certain fields right out of high school.

Tech Center Health Science programs include Biomedical Technology & Research, Nurse Technician/Patient Care Technician, Diagnostics, Emergency Medical Technician, Medical Assistant and Pharmacy Technician.

“An introduction to health care can go in many directions,” Rathsack said. “It can be a starter to get a job and then move onto an undergraduate degree or stick with the job you get out of high school.” 

‘It’s really giving them a great foundation for what health care is like.’

— Kent Career Tech Center instructor Lisa Coin

Plans include bringing in guest speakers from a range of professions.

“This gives me a better avenue to bring people in and expose them to careers that I wouldn’t know about (from) just being a science teacher,” Rathsack said.

“It’s nice to learn these skills,” said senior Rolando Mireles. “Healthcare kind of interests me; I’m not too sure about it. Maybe this can help me figure out if it’s something I want to continue.”

Junior Haidyn Ager hopes to become a pediatric nurse: “I’m going to have to take a class like this in the future if I want to be a nurse, so (I’m excited to be) getting a head start and learning things that will actually benefit me. It was cool to learn about HIPAA and patient protocol.”

Read more from Wyoming, Kent ISD:
Garden education program teaches ‘everything from seed to plate’
• Teacher shortage remains a major challenge in Kent County, beyond

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Making Headlines

- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You Live WGVU