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Over 30 Baldwin High School Students Participate in the 25th Shadow Day at Mercy Medical Center

Over 30 students in grades 10-12 from Baldwin High School’s Medical Academy partnered up with a Mercy Medical Center mentor on Tuesday, April 16 during the program’s 25th annual Shadow Day event. The event, part of a year-long partnership program between the Baldwin School District and Mercy, helps to bring students into a professional environment. Several students are volunteers within several departments during the school year as well.

“The collaboration with Mercy allows us to offer our students a richer experiential learning opportunity, which simply can’t be learned in the classroom,” said Barbara Riess, school to career program coordinator. “It allowed for students to get a real-life picture of what it would be like to work in health care. Even more so, students were able to focus on specific areas of medicine and evaluate if that’s the field they want to pursue in the future. This type of learning is rare which typically doesn’t happen until college. We are so thankful for our partnership with Mercy, which has allowed us to provide our students with a pipeline into medicine.”

With nursing and doctor shortages on the rise, students shadowed professionals in virtually every department within the hospital, including nursing, radiology, physical therapy, social work, biomedical engineering, pharmacy and occupational therapy. Students gained professional experiences in the business and medical setting while connecting what they learned in the classroom. These experiences will help to shape what career path students might want to take whether it’s a degree towards a medicine profession or becoming the executive chef at a company.

“Shadow Day is just as immersive to the staff at Mercy as it is to the students,” said Barbara Gibbons, RN, chief nursing officer at Mercy Medical Center. “It provided an opportunity for our staff to not only serve as mentors, but to be reminded of the impact that they make on a daily basis to patients, families and the community. We are honored to continue to participate in this tradition and are excited to continue to partner with Baldwin in helping shape the future nurses, doctors, technicians, businessmen/businesswomen and professionals in our community.”

Baldwin High School’s Lila Ariste, who shadowed Mother/Baby Nurse Manager Barbra Kahn, RN said, “Shadow Day was a great experience because it taught me that medicine is not only about taking care of patients but it’s also important to learn managerial skills.” Ariste was able to attend serval meetings with Ms. Kahn and even scrubbed into a C-section.

Baldwin High School is the only school district on Long Island to participate in a shadow day with Mercy Medical Center and has been partner for 25 years. At the event, Baldwin presented Mercy Medical Staff with a plaque as a token of their appreciation.

Following in Her Sisters Footsteps

Megan Best, a senior at Baldwin High School, shares the love of medicine with her sister, Vanna-Marie, a Baldwin High School graduate who is now a full-time Physician’s Assistant at Mercy. Today, Megan shadowed a registered nurse and Vanna-Marie mentored another BHS student. Vanna-Marie said that participating at these Shadow Days in high school is what prompted her to pursue a career as a PA, and ultimately what attracted her to Mercy when applying to full-time positions post-graduation.

“Shadow Day gave me exposure at a young age that most PA students won’t see until their in their third year of schooling,” says Vanna-Marie Best, “I was able to witness how labor and deliver and the ED operated at such an early age, helping further solidify that I was choosing the right profession – even at the age of 16, the age I was when I experienced my first Shadow Day.”