LAKE FOREST — The Department of Nursing at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital has launched a new program for North Chicago High School graduates attending the College of Lake County in a healthcare career.
The Leading Young People Navigating a Medical Career in the Community program was created to help graduates pursue health sciences education, receive mentorship and guidance throughout their studies, and find employment at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital after graduation.
Selected students receive financial aid at the College of Lake County in one of several pre-approved health science degrees. Throughout the student’s tenure in college, they benefit from professional mentorship and exposure to the hospital. After graduation, the student will interview and be eligible to be hired by Northwestern Medicine.
Students in the DYNAMIC program should plan to pursue one of the seven approved health science degrees at the College of Lake County. These include Certified Practical Nurse, Emergency Medical Technology, Medical Assisting, Medical Imaging, Nursing, Phlebotomy Technician, and Surgical Technology.
“Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital believes investing in local talent is essential, and a structured mentorship program helps individuals build relationships, grow professionally, develop skills and expertise, and prepare to a legacy of strong performance and leadership,” said Karen Mahnke, Bernthal Family Chief Nurse at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. “Mentoring is proven to benefit both mentors and mentees on both sides of the table.”
Benefits of the program include relationship building and improved collaboration; increase awareness of the health system; develop professional skills and competencies; advancing career potential; and improving individual and organizational performance.
Edgar Vergara, 19, of North Chicago, knew he wanted to join the healthcare field, so he immediately applied when he learned of the opportunity at school.
“I knew I would receive more than just financial support for college,” Vergara said in a press release. “Being matched with a mentor in the field you want to be in is so valuable. They tell you what an average day looks like for them and give you an in-depth look at what they do on a day-to-day basis. Receiving job security after school is also relieves me of enormous stress and I can just focus on the real experience, which is fantastic.
Mark Bon, RN, of Waukegan, was Vegara’s mentor and works in the hospital’s medical oncology unit. He was happy to see that there were opportunities in his community to encourage students to pursue careers in health care.
“I really enjoyed working with Edgar and introducing him to what it’s like to be a nurse in a hospital setting,” Bon said. “I was able to share some of my personal experiences at school and at work and I hope I have inspired him to seek a successful career in nursing in the near future.”