Brookings Health System Fosters Workforce Development by Supporting Brookings High School HOSA Chapter

Posted: 4/17/2017

Operating Room and CSR Director Candy Johnson, RN, explains the da Vinci robot control console to Brookings High School’s HOSA chapter during a tour of one of the new operating rooms at Brookings Hospital last Wednesday. In addition to hosting tours, Brookings Health System also recently donated many of the medical supplies HOSA students needed for their state competition. As the largest health care employer in Brookings, workforce development is a critical strategy for Brookings Health System. When the new HOSA chapter started at Brookings High School at the beginning of this school year, Brookings Health System’s leadership team knew they wanted to support the group in molding future health care professionals.

HOSA Future Health Professionals is a career and technical student organization that gives many high schoolers their first experiences with health care careers. Participating students may perform job shadows, participate in competitive events and interact with medical professionals.

Last Wednesday Brookings Health System provided HOSA students tours of the new Brookings Hospital expansion and The Neighborhoods at Brookview skilled nursing home. While touring the health system, students learned about careers in emergency medicine, inpatient care, obstetrics, radiology, surgery and long-term care.

“One of the things we want students to get out of HOSA is that there are more job opportunities in health care than just being a nurse or a doctor,” said HOSA Co-Advisor Marcie Welsh. “By touring Brookings Health, the students also learn they can have really great jobs in the medical field while staying in Brookings.”

Touring medical facilities helps broaden students’ horizons regarding future career possibilities.

“We’ve had so many kids say they want to do a certain job after a tour,” said Jamie Tucker, HOSA’s other co-advisor. “HOSA’s giving them direction. They’ve also been able to network with peers from other schools who have the same goals.”

Peer networking happens by competing at the State Annual Leadership Conference. This year, 11 students participated at the state competition held April 6-7 in Sioux Falls. Competition events included debate, persuasive communication skills and creative problem solving as well as performing procedural skills, such as CPR/first aid, nursing assisting and biomedical lab science.

To compete in the procedural skills categories, students need to bring along their own medical supplies. Brookings Health System helped contestants by donating most of the items needed for state competition. Items included disposable masks, disposable gowns, sterile surgical gloves, CPR bags and masks, sterile gauze pads, roller gauze, roller bandages, biohazard bags, trauma dressings and sterile dressings.

“In our first year, we just didn’t have a lot of funds,” said Tucker. “We really appreciate Brookings Health System’s donation so we could compete at state.”

The competition paid off. A team of students qualified for nationals in creative problem solving and one student qualified for nationals in laboratory science, something she wouldn’t have been able to do without the medical supplies donated by the health system.

“Supporting HOSA students is a natural extension of Brookings Health System’s vision which includes investing in tomorrow’s health care workforce,” said Human Resources Director September Bessler. “We know a highly-skilled labor pool is the lifeblood of health care. Supporting the Brookings High School HOSA chapter helps ensure our community will have the health care professionals it needs in the future.”

Brookings Health System is the fifth largest employer in Brookings. The organization provides employees a variety of benefits, including paid time off, retirement plans, health insurance and wellness reimbursement. More information about career and job opportunities can be found online at

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at