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Albany Med Today

From Respiratory to Radiology - and Points in Between: Students Explore Careers of Tomorrow

They cringed at, but were fascinated by, a diseased pig lung—or “smoker’s lung,” when they visited a Pulmonary Function Lab where they learned what it takes to be a respiratory therapist. In the Hearing Center, they saw the progression of hearing aids from the 19th century on and learned about becoming an audiologist. And they made nine more stops along the way—exploring diagnostic and therapeutic careers and their educational requirements.

All in all, 85 high school students and their parents, representing 29 Capital Region schools, learned about 11 different career opportunities at Albany Med—all considered the “careers of tomorrow.”

For the eighth year, the Center for Learning and Development along with Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services hosted “Health Careers Exploration Day” in late November, once again underscoring Albany Med as an important resource to our community while also introducing tomorrow’s workforce to good-paying, hard-to-fill positions.

According to Bernadette Pedlow, senior vice president and hospital COO, “Our program has helped to bring many exciting, personally rewarding and well-paying health care job titles to the attention of guidance counselors, students and parents. Our efforts to raise awareness, coupled with scholarship agreements for various disciplines, have drawn many more students into the lesser-known health care disciplines. Shortages in these areas have  dramatically declined, and many hospitals have benefitted by more graduating students entering the job market.”

She also noted that when most students think about health care careers, they think mostly of doctors and nurses. So the day-long program, involving 31 Albany Med staff, acquainted students and parents with the work of electrophysiology/cardiac catheterization technicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, speech and language pathologists, clinical neurophysiology Allyson Lemery, a senior from Hudson Falls, right, inspects a “smoker’s lung,” as Rachel Myer, a respiratory care student from Hudson Valley Community College, looks on during “Health Careers Exploration Day.” technicians, radiology technologists, clinical laboratory technicians; pharmacists and non-invasive cardiology technicians.

That mix resonated for Allyson Lemery, a senior from Hudson Falls High School. She said she was impressed by learning about jobs that “we don’t hear much about.” And interestingly, the day confirmed for her that she would definitely pursue a career as a radiology technician, with her sights on Hudson Valley Community College.

Allie Friends, a sophomore from Ballston Spa High School, was reminded that she needs to do well in school “if I want to have a great job like the ones I saw. It made me really excited for the future and getting a job I can really enjoy.” She landed on physical therapy.

Allie’s father, Chip Friends, lauded the Albany Med staff for its professionalism and competence—and wrapped up by saying, “That Saturday was one of the most valuable times spent with my daughter, enriching both her college/career exploration and both of our impressions of Albany Med.”