MARSHALL, Texas — Marshall High School Health Science instructor Lisa Stampley has one key goal for the 215 students currently in the Health Science pathway: to know one way or the other if health care is a career they would like to pursue upon graduation.
“My goal is that my students are armed with the basic knowledge in health care so that when they go to college it is just a refresher,” said Stampley, a 1996 graduate of MHS who is in her third year of teaching after several years as a nurse with experience in gastroenterology and home health, specifically. “They have been exposed to the material and hopefully it won’t be lost in the academics.”
Of the 200-plus students in the pathway, 24 students are on a “traveling” schedule this semester. These students are actually rotating through various areas of hospital care and nursing home care locally, with experience that can help them decide on their career of choice in the field.
“Many students think they know what they want to do, but when they see their options at the hospital, they change their mind,” Stampley said. “My practicum students get to see many skills and interactions that prepare them for college. They get to visit with employees and receive guidance and direction for their future. I want to make sure that our students understand what they will see and do before enrolling in college. I want them to be satisfied and happy with their career choice.”
Currently, the only certification available to students in the MHS program is for CPR, but Stampley is hopeful that more opportunities for certification will be made available to students in the future.
“The reality is that opportunities in the workforce have become more competitive, and a lot of places require higher level degrees, like a bachelor’s degree in nursing as opposed to just an associate’s degree,” Stampley said. “Some facilities don’t utilize LVN’s like they used to. Becoming a mid-level provider such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant seems to be the way to go. Doctor’s offices are also using medical assistants instead of nurses, and medical assisting is an area that we could look at certifying students as well.”
The importance of certification means that a student could potentially graduate and go straight to work, Stampley said. A certified CNA program could provide such a great benefit to students, and it is something Stampley hopes can happen eventually at MHS.
Students in the pathway are assessed through presentations, research and skills that are hands-on type experiences. Students learn CPR, basic nursing skills, how to monitor vital signs, and communication, among other concepts. Stampley said students in the traveling rotation are also evaluated on such things as appearance, assertiveness, knowledge, participation and interactions with others.
Her personal path to becoming an instructor began at MHS, then to Panola College’s nursing program which she began one week after her high school graduation. She earned her associate’s degree in 1999 and went to work at East Texas Medical Center in Carthage, working in Medical-Surgical and Day Surgery for one year. She then returned home to work at Good Shepherd Medical Center-Marshall, where she worked in the Endoscopy Lab for seven years before leaving to enter a phase in her career as a home health nurse. After a year in home health, Stampley then worked for five years in the office of a doctor’s private practice.
All of that serves her well as a teacher, she said. She can draw on these varied experiences and share her stories and knowledge of real-life nursing with her students, good and bad.
“I found that in nursing, you actually do a lot of teaching,” she said. “That was my favorite part, the interaction with patients and families and know that I made a difference was important to me. I made the decision that if I could give back and be a good role model for our youth, then I could be happy. It was a hard and scary decision to leave a world I was comfortable with and be faced with teenagers. But halfway through my third year as a teacher, I couldn’t be more proud of the progress of my students. Teaching is also very rewarding.”
Ultimately, Stampley’s goal as a teacher of Health Science is to prepare students for life in the real world outside the walls of MHS. The experience as a teacher has also proven to be beneficial for her own knowledge as well.
“I learn something new every day working with students,” she said. “There are so many students who just need guidance and a little help. If I can lead just one student into health care, then I have done my job. It is a career that will always be there. It is job security for our youth. I don’t just teach ‘health,’ but I also teach real-life skills like communication, salary calculations, insurance, conflict resolution, basic manners, and many other things. The importance of teaching Health Science and health-related courses to high students is to prepare them for the real world. I also hope that they learn from my experiences that I share and see that health care can be fun and rewarding.”