Forrest General Hospital Hosts Career Fair for Hattiesburg Middle School Students

Published 1:44 pm Monday, October 24, 2022

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (October 20, 2022) Future doctors, nurses, lab technicians, environmental service employees, or healthcare support staff may have walked through the doors of the Hattiesburg Middle School Health Career Fair on Wednesday.

A partnership between Forrest General Hospital and the Hattiesburg Public School District, the event, held at the Forrest County Multipurpose Center, welcomed students to tour 24 stations which highlighted 40 jobs in the healthcare field – both clinical and non-clinical. Each student spent 15 minutes at four stations of interest, which had been previously selected and approved by teachers.

“Hattiesburg benefits from having world-class health care and that comes through Forrest General, which serves 19 counties,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “In terms of quality, Forrest General is second to none. In terms of access, it really is the community’s hospital. But Forrest General is also a huge economic boost and provides a lot of employment to our area. Today, we have our next generation of workers, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, from N.R. Burger Middle School who are here to learn about potential health care careers. And when you can start cultivating your next generation of workers, it really does a lot for sustainability of your community.”

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Approximately 800 students in grades six through eight made their way through the stations where they had the opportunity to talk with and ask questions of healthcare employees. The stations also provided hands-on opportunities where students could practice CPR/chest compressions on a mannequin; learn proper use of a wheelchair and stretcher; proper transfer of patient movement; quick flu tests; management of EVD drain (Critical Care); interview & job application tips; view robot packaging medications; video of completing basic law enforcement training; equipment public safety officers carry; identification of patients correctly; physical therapy and utilization of a walker, portable ventilator, and pulse oximetry utilization; passing of surgical instruments; packing of wounds to stop the bleeding; splint application, and much more.

Students learned that some healthcare jobs require a college degree, while others require no education outside of a high school diploma. Others may be interested in job offerings where an associate’s degree or vocational certification is required. No matter which pathway they choose, all of these jobs play an important role in the everyday workings of the healthcare field or a hospital facility.

“It’s important for students to attend career workforce opportunity visits, so they can see what all opportunities lie ahead of them,” said Hattiesburg Public School District  Superintendent, Robert Williams. “It’s also a great opportunity for students to interact with individuals who are currently doing the work these students may dream of doing one day.”

Stations were divided into clinical, which included jobs such as radiology tech, nurse, surgeon, or lab tech, and non-clinical, which entails such jobs as human resources, finance, environmental services, purchasing, and engineering.

“This career fair is important to Forrest General Hospital because these students may be some of our future employees,” said Sheila Shappley, Trauma PIPs program director. “We want to create a spark in them early, so hopefully, they will stay in Hattiesburg to pursue a career path. The fair gives students a better understanding of various careers. It exposes students to career pathways, to high-growth, high-demand career opportunities, to postsecondary options such as community colleges, tech schools, etc., and gives students the opportunity to ask questions of someone in a career of their interest.”

Job roles were provided to the school early on so they could be incorporated into the classroom. The job role described what each job entailed, including the training, and education required for the job, the duration of the training and education, salary range, described what a typical day looks like, and position availability.

Eric Steele, a member of the Hattiesburg Public School District Board of Trustees and the Forrest General Hospital Board of Trustees, enjoyed walking around and watching students learn new things that might spark an interest in the health care field one day. “I really think that getting students exposed to career opportunities at an early age makes a big difference. I think this is the time to really help formulate in their minds what they want to do because I think when you get to high school it may be too late. Do it early on when it may make an impact on them. This is just fantastic to see the smiles and the excitement on their faces. This is what it’s really all about.”

For more information on Careers at Forrest Health, visit