On May 30, faculty and staff in the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women and Newborns provided an inside look at the joys and opportunities of a career in health care for a small group of students from The Roxbury Latin School, an independent boys’ school in West Roxbury.
The 11th graders met with Connors Center providers across multiple specialties — including anesthesiology, neonatology and obstetrics — and different roles, including nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists, to learn about their training, day-to-day work and areas of expertise.
Students also donned scrubs, took a guided tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and participated in hands-on demonstrations using medical simulation devices.
The visit was part of the school’s RL@Work program, which aims to provide students with off-campus experiences that offer exposure to various professions and types of leadership to prepare them for citizenship, service, work and the world. Over three days and in partnership with host organizations, students obtain a behind-the-scenes look at careers in science and medicine, law and public service, and technology and innovation.
Annette Scheid, MD, an attending neonatologist in the NICU and director of Physician Well-Being in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, organized the students’ Brigham visit with a deliberate emphasis on highlighting multidisciplinary teamwork.
“I was really excited about formatting this in a way that illustrates the importance of collaboration among different types of physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists, while also showcasing the beauty of perinatal medicine,” said Scheid, who has two younger sons enrolled in the school. “We all have a deep love for what we do, and while this is not an easy field, it is probably one of most fulfilling in terms of what you get back.”
Developing Future Leaders
In addition to Scheid, participating Brigham faculty and staff included David Beadles, RRT, respiratory therapist; Phil Capistran, BSN, RN, NICU nurse; Michaela Farber, MD, obstetric anesthesiologist in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine; and Daniel Katz, MD, obstetrician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Farber, who spoke with students about what her work entails and led a demonstration of epidural injections using a simulation manikin, said it was gratifying to see the students’ energy and enthusiasm while trying out the simulation tools.
“Their excitement about discovery was really meaningful to me,” she said. “If we were able to inspire their career choices in the future, that’s an incredible thing. But irrespective of what they ultimately pursue, I think it’s important to engage young people about health care and the health care system — and women’s health, specifically — because it influences every aspect of our lives.”
Andrew Chappell, MA, director of Studies and Strategic Initiatives at Roxbury Latin, agreed that educational experiences such as the one the Connors Center team hosted are integral to students’ development as future leaders.
“The boys walked away not only inspired by Dr. Scheid and her colleagues’ expertise and professionalism, but also with an appreciation for how important skills of collaboration, communication, problem-solving and teamwork — which they are developing at Roxbury Latin — are to their success as adults in the workforce,” Chappell said. “After visiting the NICU, having an opportunity to simulate on practice dolls and hearing from experts in the field of neonatal medicine, the boys gained an appreciation for the work of health care providers and what it takes to do their work well.”
Scheid, who spoke with students about what it’s like caring for infants with complex health needs, said she was deeply grateful so many colleagues gave their time to ensure the students had a rewarding experience.
“I feel very lucky to work at a hospital that cares this way about outreach and motivation of future physicians at this young age,” she said.