WW students recognized at HOSA national conference

By: 
Kate Wehlann

Two West Washington Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) are being recognized this weekend at the HOSA National Leadership Conference for their each completing 100 hours of volunteer time at a local nursing home.
Alyssa Hopper and Alexandra Choiniere each gave 100 hours of their time to The Salem Crossing during their time in the organization.
Choiniere has been in HOSA for the past three years.
“It really has been a life-changing event,” she wrote. “It taught me to work hard to achieve my goals and that anything is achievable. Being a member of HOSA has pushed me out of my comfort zone and opened up many opportunities for me that I didn’t believe possible. Because of HOSA, I have spent over 200 hours volunteering at the Salem Crossing nursing home and was offered a career.”
She said she pursued CNA certification and other opportunities through HOSA thanks to teacher Zach Eisele.
“I had no interest in the health careers until he came along,” she said. “A good teacher really makes a difference … None of this would be possible without the support of Eisele. He is an incredible teacher – by far one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and I would have never pushed myself if it wasn’t for him and the faith he has in his students to succeed.”
Hopper has also been a part of HOSA for the past three years.
“Everyone in my family is in the medical field,” she said. “It’s amazing. I’ve loved every second of it.”
She said much of her time was spent with clients in the activities room, listening to their stories, playing games with them and generally spending time with residents.
“[A nursing home] is more hands-on than other places,” she said. “You get to know the patients. If you’re at a hospital, they may just be there for rehab and then they’re gone.”
She said she was recognized for her volunteer hours at last year’s national conference as well.
Choiniere said she plans to attend IUS in the fall to study nursing in hopes of becoming a pediatric nurse. Hopper, too, is leaning toward pediatrics, but wants to be a labor and delivery nurse.
“I love babies!” she said.
“HOSA has been a great experience and I hate to see it end,” she said. “All the hard work we put into it only benefits us more because we get to travel to nationals and at nationals, we get to meet with thousands of other future health career students.”
She added the national convention also offers a wide variety of educational opportunites, booths and simulators for students to try and “really feel what it’s like, not only for the medical provider, but also for the patients.”
“If anyone is going into the medical field and their school has a HOSA chapter, be a part of it,” said Hopper. “It looks good on scholarship and college applications, but it also prepares you for what you’re going into.”

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