With a desire to pursue a medical career, 16-year-old Quitman High School student Brookilin Stafford credits her grandmother as a role model.
“My Mamaw has been a big influence on me. She is a retired nurse who was a neonatal nurse,” Stafford said after she completed a skills exercise in Saturday’s Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Central District competition held at Meridian Community College.
Stafford was one of the 680 students from 29 schools in the central Mississippi region to compete in a myriad of health care competitions that serves to hone high school students’ skills and offer a look into medical professions. The competition also gives students a platform to compete and display their skills with the significant advantage of it advancing the quality of health care. Plus, it helps students to stay focused on their career goals.
HOSA is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). HOSA’s two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all.
Lori Smith, MCC dean of workforce education and the coordinator of this HOSA event, said this annual conference exposes many potential students to Meridian Community College and its offerings, including the nursing and health education programs available.
Stafford credits HOSA, too. “HOSA gets you in line and helps you learn the basics,” she said.
Another competitor, Katie Taylor, a 10th grader at Clarkdale High School, said HOSA is preparing her in with her career choice of nursing. “It prepares me to learn how to take care and communicate with patients,” Taylor said.
The top five winners in each of the categories, which range from medical spelling to nurse assisting to veterinary assisting and creative problem solving, will advance to the state HOSA competition, which is set for later in the spring in Jackson.
MCC has hosted the Central Mississippi HOSA competition for more than two decades.
Photo: Brookilin Stafford, right, assists Paige Phillips as Stafford completes a skills competition during Saturday’s HOSA competition held on the Meridian Community College campus.