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Lead, Deadwood hosts state Health Occupations Students of America conference

November 14, 2018

LEAD-DEADWOOD — A day designed to engage local Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) chapter officers and others through a day of leadership activities, accessibility to professionals, collaboration with others, and information discussions relating to successful HOSA chapters had as its goal, the launch of several successful careers in health care professions Friday.

HOSA was formed a few years ago in response to the great need for future health professionals across the state and its goals are to envision, energize and engage students, sparking an interest in health care careers. The L.A.U.N.C.H. academy held in Lead and Deadwood was one of two statewide, held this fall, featuring a one-day training, focusing on: Leadership development, Activity driven, Unwavering Confidence, Networking synapse, Collaboration station, and Helpful hints.

Offering the opportunity to network with other HOSA kids from across the area, around 70 students from Custer, Lead-Deadwood, Spearfish, Todd County, Kadoka, and Rapid City Central were also afforded tours of Regional Health and Sanford Lab facilities, as well as panels led by professionals from both entities.

Students engaged in activities involving leadership styles, personality types, and public speaking, as well as meeting ideas and projects for their respective HOSA chapters, hands-on, onsite activities led by health and science professionals.

Spearfish sophomores Samantha Walters, Kylie Stalder, and Hope Gerry were highly enthusiastic about the conference, as they embarked upon the hands-on activities at Regional Health, led by medical professionals.

“So far, the experience has been really, really cool,” Walters said. “It surpasses anything I’ve witnessed or experienced. It’s been a great experience and has widened my views of medicine and all of the different types of careers out there. It’s been interesting to learn about all of the different fields and what’s going on in our area. It’s hard to believe that a town so small can have all of these wonderful professionals doing work in all sorts of different areas.”

“And for them to be able to show it to us has been invaluable,” Stalder said.

“I didn’t know how big the organization (HOSA) was itself,” Gerry said. “Come to find out, it’s nationwide and there are so many people who are members, just in South Dakota alone.”

And those comments were even made before the students had a chance to try their hand at five different EMT and paramedic stations set up at Regional Health in Deadwood.

Soon, they were trying their hand at drilling into bone to start an IV using an EZ-10 needle, setting a traction splint for femurs, intubation, and AED/CPR, as well as wound care.

Lead-Deadwood High School senior Trinity Brady said some things were definitely new to him at the AED/CPR station.

“I didn’t know you give 30 compressions and then give a breath,” Brady said. “And it should be 100-120 compressions per minute and if you’re giving CPR with a partner, each person should go about two minutes.”

Lead-Deadwood High School science teacher, HOSA advisor, and event organizer, Dr. Bree Oatman, said the most impactful take-away for her students was the chance to meet with other HOSA students and to learn more about the program.

“Week to week, when it is just us at school, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture and difficult to understand how we are connected to a larger organization and to thousands of students across the country,” Oatman said. “Hopefully, they felt the energy that comes from a large group of youth all interested in the same future, sharing similar goals. I hope they felt inspired about competing in HOSA events and becoming leaders.

It was also helpful for advisors to come together with SD HOSA staff and Regional Health staff to talk about our challenges and successes and to brainstorm future partnerships or projects.”

As part of the L.A.U.N.C.H., students also gained insight into competitive event preparation, what is new for events in 2018, and how to go compete, come April.

Todd County High School science teacher and HOSA advisor Marj Blare said the team building sessions left an impression on her students and that after attending the conference, many of her students have a better idea of what HOSA is about.

“The session on conflict resolution hit home, in fact they thought we just find ways to present some of these activities to our own students. Resolving conflict does not just apply to the work situations, it also applies to situations at school,” Blare said. “They have decided what competitions they want to take part in after the sessions given by the HOSA officers. They also got ideas about possible careers they want to pursue. Some of my students have never been to Lead, so being able to go to a new place is also positive.”

Blare added, it’s also good when the advisors can get together, share ideas, and help and support one another.

“HOSA is a great opportunity for our student, but as advisors we can sometimes become overwhelmed when we have to do fundraising and getting everything organized on top of our regular duties,” Blare said. “When we see all of the opportunities there are for our students when they become involved in HOSA it helps motivate us to keep doing what we are doing. The reason we are HOSA advisors is because we want to do whatever we can to help our students succeed.”

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