Go, Students, Go: 20 Graduate from GO! Vocational Health Program at TMC

Twenty recent high school graduates are closer to future careers in health care, graduating Thursday from a summer vocational program that allowed them to acquire new acute care skills.

After completing the summer GO! Program, 18 of the students obtained their certificates become patient care technicians, while two others completed phlebotomy training.

For the students, it provided an opportunity to work with skilled mentors while getting hands-on experience in the health care field.

Isabella Conte, who hopes to one day be an anesthesiologist, joked that after her experience in the Intensive Care Unit, she went home and heard the beeps and buzz of medical equipment in her head at night.

But more than that, she said, the internship helped her understand the importance of being there for her patients. “My experience in the ICU taught me the meaning of care and how teamwork really matters.”

The program is supported though a partnership with Tucson Medical Center, Tucson Youth Development, the Joint Technical Education District and Pima County Community Services Employment and Training.

TMC’s Chief Operating Officer Linda Wojtowicz noted 146 students have come through the program since its inception in 2004. For young people, she noted, “it’s hard to make decisions about what to do with your future, so to be in the midst of things and see the inner workings of the hospital and actually touch patients lives – it’s really a great opportunity.”

Chief Nursing Officer Cheryl Young said this time of year, when the students wearing lime-green scrubs walk the halls, is her favorite. “The best thing is watching them grow. You’ll see employees here who used to be GO kids and now they’re nurses and it’s just the coolest thing. I’m very grateful to our partners who help fund this opportunity for young adults.”

Gabriella Savorilla, a patient care technician at TMC, is one of those former GO students.

Savorilla, who served as a mentor this year to intern Cayelyn Reedich, graduated herself from the program two years ago and is now applying to get into a program to become a registered nurse. The students might be learning, but they’re also contributing to the hospital and its patients, she said. “It’s always great to have a new set of eyes. She taught me as much as I taught her.”

Beth Francis, the program nursing manager at the Joint Technical Education District, said a majority of the students have been offered positions at Tucson Medical Center and are going through the application process.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Rd. | Tucson, AZ 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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