Career fair hopes to attract a new generation of medical professionals

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A health career fair that began 12 years ago with a handful of students has grown into a huge event. Sponsored by Singing River Health System, the fair now attracts more than 1,300 high school students. And those students may one day be your doctor, nurse, or medical technician.

"I wanted to come here today to learn about the different fields in medicine world and to get an insight before I go to college and decide, maybe, if I would be interested in doing something like that," Annie Taylor explained.

Part of that something is compassion for the sick.  Donna Bevins is a critical care RN.

"That's what they're looking for in nursing or in health care is the personal, the humanity part of it. The hands on care and loving your patient. It's a vocation as well as a profession," Bevins said

Every year, dozens of career fairs are held for high schools up and down the Gulf Coast. But what makes this one different is the hands on approach. Students can actually feel and see how things operate in the medical field. And that makes a big difference for them, according to student Ashleigh Moore.

"I really enjoyed it," Moore said. "It gave me a visual and doing it with my hands makes it a lot better."

"It's a really good education," Khari Levy said. "I like the feel of it, I like the hands on. It's really good."

Student Yasmin Lang agreed, saying, "I feel like with the hands on approach, you're just really able to really experience and get into the whole health career thing. It's not just books and words."

For organizers, the fair is a major undertaking.

"We start on the Monday before at 10 O'Clock and we have our facilities support representatives, our biomedical representatives come," said fair organizer Tenesha Batiste.  "We have vendors that come in and help us turn it into a career fair."

The health career fair wraps up Wednesday at the Jackson County Civic Center in Pascagoula.

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