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Sharp Health News

Creating a path to health care careers

Oct. 21, 2020

Students in classroom with notepads and laptops
Vallarie Basa remembers the exact moment she knew that health care was the career path for her.

There were a lot of clues growing up — from the time she was a little girl tending to the cuts and scratches of her young cousins, to her teen years when she helped care for her uncle during his cancer treatments.

At Granite Hills High School, Vallarie participated in an honors-level science program for students interested in health care careers. One of the requirements was to complete an internship. Vallarie was accepted into the Healthcare Exploration Summer Institute (HESI), a selective, intensive internship program at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Vallarie can talk for hours about her great experiences in the HESI program, including presentations from expert speakers, reviews of medical case studies, and rotations through several hospital departments. “I learned about jobs I never even knew existed and could ask questions about the different paths professionals took to get to their positions,” she says.

However, the most powerful moments were with the people she met, including a concerned father whose infant needed a blood draw.

“The baby’s father was really worried,” Vallarie recalls. “I shared that I was a student, but I could explain what was going on and told him that his baby was in good hands. He said that it made him feel good to know that people like me would be future health care providers.”

It was this encounter that made Vallarie certain she was right where she was supposed to be.

Vallarie carried that moment with her as she graduated high school, went on to mentor the next class of HESI participants and became a certified nursing assistant. Today, she is applying to nursing schools and working at Sharp Grossmont Hospital as a patient attendant.

“When I walk into Sharp Grossmont, I feel like I am the person I am meant to be,” Vallarie says. “And it all started with the HESI program.”

To learn more about the positive impact Sharp doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers have on the San Diego community, read the complete Sharp HealthCare Community Benefit Plan and Report, Fiscal Year 2019 (PDF) or the Executive Summary (PDF).

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