Forging their Paths

It’s a beautiful day to save lives! Hidalgo Early College High School healthcare science students got into their new scrubs and got to work.
It begins with Hidalgo Early College High School healthcare Science-Technology educator, Mario Alberto Alonzo. Alonzo prepared different skills stations for the Medical Assistants (MA), and Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA) students to get some hands-on experience and feedback from each other and their mentor. The skills stations consisted of eye exams; to test the visual acuity, working with sutures, phlebotomy which is drawing blood from a vein for lab testing, hearing test with the tuning fork, blood pressure, respiratory rate pulse which is the heart rate, and all vital signs. The students were focused and took this hands-on experience very seriously.
“In the healthcare system, they must have all these skills down by the time the students get employed somewhere,” said Alonzo. “We do a little bit of everything here; we’re trying to get them to be successful in the future by offering the necessary training and skills.”
Hidalgo ISD has worked rigorously with Region ONE, UTRGV, and South Texas College (STC) to help meet the needs of the students and the program. In previous years, students were able to attend the CNA program at STC. Hidalgo Early College High School is still in conjunction with STC. “South Texas College has been our higher education partner for the past fifteen years,” stated Judith Dimas, Director of Career and Technology. “STC offers our district enrollment courses, and campus visits to further expose students to college experience.”CNA
The program has grown and evolved throughout the years. Supplies and tools have been incorporated and students were very grateful and excited for this opportunity. “My experience with the (CNA) Paths Program was incredible!” exclaimed senior, Beatriz Contreras. “We received the tools and resources we needed, which I am grateful for because we were able to complete tasks and gain experience in the medical workforce. This will undoubtedly be a starting point for my career, and I'm hoping it opens more opportunities for me in the future.”
A few of the CNA students were able to help and assist during the vaccine clinics that took place at Hidalgo ISD’s auditorium. These programs have given the students the opportunities, inspiration, and desire to continue their studies in this pathway. “This has been an incredible opportunity because I got to learn more about the healthcare environment without having to pay anything out of pocket,” stated senior Sofia Martinez. “I plan on attending UTRGV and continue to pursue the Pathway of becoming a Registered Nurse, and hopefully get into medical school, and specialized as an anesthesiologist.”
In return, personal experiences have also inspired students. “My inspiration to pursue this career path came from my mother because she became very ill,” said Contreras. “With the proper training and skills that I’ve received from the program, I’ve been able to assist my mother with her needs. In the future, I want to treat other patience the way I would want my mother to be treated.”
The students expressed their immense gratitude and how much this experience has meant for them and their families. “I'm grateful to Hidalgo ISD, Mr. Alonzo, and Mrs. Dimas for allowing me to participate in this program,” concludes Martinez. “The prime purpose of life is to help others and because of that, I want to be able to learn and grasp everything I can that way I’m able to help my family in Mexico, among many others who will be in need of my assistance in the future.” Afterall, any day is a beautiful day to save lives!