HOSA students earn letter jackets, gain medical skills

Though students are familiar with earning letter jackets through sports and fine arts classes, one of the health science programs also offers an additional opportunity. Health Occupation Student Association (HOSA) students explore areas of health science and compete in a variety of different competitions. Many students use HOSA as a resource to prepare them for a career in the medical field and a way to gain experience before college. 

Senior Sarahai Gaspar hopes to become a registered nurse, and competed in HOSA for two years to earn her letter jacket.

“I did medical terminology last year and this year I did pharmacology,” Sarahai said. “There’s so many other different things offered, including biology and technical topics.” 

Senior Codee McLean also earned her letter jacket through HOSA and competed in medical terminology last year.

“What I liked about competing in HOSA is that it motivated me to learn medical terminology so that way it will be easier in my career,” Codee said. “It kind of forced me to study even if I didn’t want to and medical terminology is like a different language itself.”

Codee is already using the information she has learned in her health occupations classes.

“I currently work at a nursing home, so the information I gained through HOSA helps me each day,” Codee said. “In the future, I want to be an occupational therapist, and feel like the classes and organization helped give me a head start.”

Sarahai plans on going to Blinn before transferring to Baylor to study nursing.

“HOSA has helped because I plan to work in a hospital while I’m going to college at the same time,” Sarahai said. “At first, I wanted to become a doctor but I realized that’s more of diagnosing and less of dealing with the patient. Nursing will allow me to talk to patients more and care for them in a more direct way.”

The Hammond Oliver program has allowed Sarahai to pursue her Patient Care Technician certification, which will allow her to draw blood and attend to patients upon receiving her certification in May.

“I recommend students try HOSA,” Sarahai said. “There’s always a need for health care workers and if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. It’s one thing for you to cross off your list of what you want to do in the future. There’s no harm in just trying and testing the waters.”

Senior Carla Juarez has participated in HOSA for the past four years, but this was her first year to compete, where she placed 5th at region in the nursing assistant competition.

“I plan on going into the medical field and be a sonographer in the future,” Carla said. “I want to go to college and work at the same time, so I can pay for everything myself, and this program is helping me take the steps I need to pursue that goal.”

Without the HOSA program, Carla said she is not sure she would have such a defined plan for her future.

“HOSA has helped me by improving my knowledge in the medical field and helped me know what options are available to me in the future,” Carla said. “It has pushed me to try new things and gain experiences in areas that I would not have otherwise.”

With so many opportunities available to students, HOSA sponsor Rosie Addison believes the HOSA organization can help students get their foot in the door of the healthcare field.

“I hope students will not only learn more about particular areas of Health Science they are interested in, but that they become more aware of other areas within the Health Science industry that they may not have heard about,” Addison said. “I also hope they develop and improve upon their communication skills, improve their ability to network with other Health Science students from Region 2 and state, and boost their confidence as future patient care providers.”