STEM Day is celebrated on November 8th to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills. STEM day is an opportunity to help students learn about possible career paths that utilize strong STEM skills. One possible career path is healthcare. Our healthcare partner, QLI, is a world-class Rehabilitation Center specializing in limb loss, spinal injury, stroke, and brain injury. We sat down with an alumna of the Avenue Scholars program, Miriam Rodriguez, who is now a Training Instructor for the IMPACT Program and a CNA at QLI, to tell us what it’s like to work in healthcare.

What does a typical day look like for you?

As a Training Instructor, I get to help students develop skills necessary for a career in healthcare and skills necessary for life. I work side by side to mentor them and push them to succeed as they earn their CNA certification. I then work either a half or full shift as a CNA helping our residents attend to their daily needs. Both roles require strong relationship building skills, patience, and compassion.

What led you to pursue a career in the healthcare industry?

The reason why I got interested in health care is because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been taught to be humble and treat others the way you would like to be treated. I knew I wanted a job where I felt like I was helping my community. I really enjoy supporting our residents and helping them have a good day. Being a CNA is not easy – it is very busy and there is a lot to do, but at the end of the day I know can change people’s lives through my kindness and determination. 

What types of internships does QLI offer to Avenue Scholars students?

We have two internships. The summer internship is a CNA training program focused on helping interns earn their CNA certification and learn some ‘soft skills’ like professionalism and how to represent themselves in a professional career setting. We also can help them through personal challenges as well that might be affecting their ability to focus on their career. The fall internship is a paid internship with a bigger role – along with the CNA training program, students also become part of the QLI team and go through QLI’s new employee orientation. At the end of the internship, QLI may hire the student as a full-time student with a pay increase and benefits. 

QLI partnered with Avenue Scholars on a Career Awareness Event recently. What did students learn?

This event gave high school juniors who are interested in healthcare an opportunity to learn more about how important a CNA is in the healthcare field, as well as share insights into what it takes to be a healthcare worker. If the students enjoy it, it will nudge them to apply for the summer IMPACT program at QLI.

What excites you about the next 5-10 years in the healthcare industry?

I am excited about new developments in research and medicine, and the use of technology in healthcare to deliver even better care for patients. Healthcare will always be needed as long as there are people, so it is exciting to see how we can even help more people and maybe even solve diseases such as cancer.

Do you have any advice for students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry?

Being a healthcare worker comes with a lot of responsibility – you are taking care of other humans and that is not an easy task. You will need a lot of compassion and patience. And you should treat each patient as if it were your own family member. Too many people take jobs just for money and healthcare is more than that – you literally make difference in people’s lives.

Where to hear more from QLI:

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