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Health careers Explorer Post begins in Morris

MORRIS – Jessica Jurak has inherited her physician father’s scientific mind. The Morris Community High School junior loves science and medicine and is considering a career in a related field.

She’s getting a good idea of what a health career involves, too, as president of the newly-formed Morris Hospital Explorer Post 4077.

“I love it,” she said, of the post. “We learn so much.”

So far, the post’s members have learned about hospital laboratory and pathology work, how to take vital signs, such as blood pressure, and the equipment inside ambulances and fire trucks, Jurak said.

“I was really interested in learning about the lab and pathology,” she said. “I want to see as much as I can about the different areas of medicine.”

She’s not just learning about medical careers. As the group’s president, she’s also getting experience in leadership, organization and responsibility.

The Explorer post is a joint effort between Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers and Rainbow Council Boy Scouts of America. It began last spring by three hospital staff members – doctors David Vermillion and Douglas Toussaint and hospital president and CEO Mark Steadham, the post’s committee chairman.

“This gives young men and women a chance to literally explore many different aspects of health care,” Vermillion said.

Vermillion said Rainbow Council was considering an Explorer’s post centering on health care last year, and he thought it would be good for the students and the hospital. He said he enjoys education – he’s also a Boy Scout merit badge counselor – and decided to become involved.

The post is open to anyone between the ages of 14 to 20 who is interested in exploring health care careers.

The Boy Scouts of America has several Explorer posts in various fields, including business, arts and humanities, engineering, communication, law, science and skilled trades.

Rainbow Council already has posts in law enforcement, including ones with the Grundy County and Will County sheriffs departments and several police departments, as well as a few fire safety posts, Rainbow Council Scout Executive Marc Ryan said.

Boy Scouts is the program provider for the Explorer program, Ryan said, but the explorers don’t earn badges or achieve advancement.

“We focus much more on exploration of careers,” he explained.

Janet Long, spokeswoman for Morris Hospital, said the hospital is happy to host the post.

“This is about young men and women who are interested in learning more about health care careers,” she said, “and we certainly are always happy to play a role in helping students at any age learn more about careers in the field. We hope that by exposing them to health care and to Morris Hospital, that if they have the chance, they might return to work here someday.”

Explorers’ rotations include evenings in the hospital learning about nursing, radiology, X-ray technology, surgery and other areas. The group may also visit the coroner’s office and an area veterinarian, optometrist and dentist.

Their September rotation will include obstetrics and surgery at the hospital. Vermillion said they will tour an operating suite, do a surgical scrub and see what it’s like to hold surgical instruments while wearing gloves.

Toussaint said interested students first go through an orientation, where they tour the hospital and learn about safety and patient confidentiality. There are about 30 students in the program at this time.

The post was given the number “4077” after the television series, M*A*S*H, he said.


For more information about the Morris Hospital Explorer Post 4077, call the hospital at 815-942-2932, ext. 1441.

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