Shadow Day at Children's Medical Center

Kristen Weldon
Through the local Junior Achievement organization, ten students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field from KO participated in a shadow visit at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) in Hartford along with ten students from an area school.

The morning began with a discussion with Dr. Mark Gilroy, DO, a pediatrician at Unionville Pediatrics and a CCMC community faculty and clinical assistant professor at UCONN.  He explained that he initially studied economics in college, but he changed course after taking a neuroscience class and discovered his passion. Although he found neurology fascinating, he realized he was limited with what he could provide to make a patient fully better. He enjoys pediatrics because most of his patients are basically healthy so there is a greater opportunity to truly help them. He suggested that the students pursue a branch of medicine that matches well with their interests.

Following the thirty-minute discussion with Dr. Gilroy, the students toured the facility with CCMC’s community focus coordinator. The students were cautioned to be mindful of HIPAA regulations so that if the students encountered a patient they knew in the hospital they were to respect their privacy. The students met three ER nurses who explained they like the unpredictability of their day as opposed to floor nurses who have more control over the day-to-day business. While waiting for the elevator, the students spoke to an EMT clinician who is currently working on her master's degree after twenty years on the job. In the radiology department, the technician shared his strategies for dealing with children so they are less frightened of the experience. In the orthotics and prosthetics department filled with plaster and molds, the students met with two women who earned their master’s degree in the field. Only eight schools in the country offer this type of program. Lastly, the students visited the family resource center. The coordinator shared that although the hospital focuses on physical well-being, much of their work involves social dynamics and supporting families who are experiencing a difficult time.

After the program, KO students reflected on their visit to CCMC. Several students remarked that the shadow experience allowed them to see first hand the varied career opportunities offered in the health field that are not limited to having a medical degree exclusively. “The two most important takeaways from this experience were that you don’t have to major in biology or biochemistry to become a doctor and that there are so many jobs inside a hospital that aren’t solely a doctor or surgeon,” said Molly Jones ’19.

Peggy Clark, who organized the shadow day with the Junior Achievement’s Education Manager, Specialty Programs Colleen Gilroy, said, “We are really grateful to JA of southwest New England who has provided so many varied opportunities for our students. We always receive positive feedback that the students represent the school really well and can be counted on to take a serious approach to the JA activities.”

The photo was courtesy of Junior Achievement of Southwest New England.


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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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