There’s lots of talk these days about Millennials and how the workplace is trying to figure out what to do with their unfamiliar, self-centered work ethic.
But the students who are in junior high and high school now are not “Millennials.” These younger workers-to-be are what some call “Generation Z,” “Gen Z,” “the iGeneration” or “Post-Millennials.” And successfully capturing the attention of this age group requires a different strategy than attracting college students and 20-somethings.
Most of Gen Z has been clicking a mouse as long as they have been walking. They know nothing of the world before the Internet, and the fascination with its magic is often limited to a very brief “Oh, OK. Now what?” response. It is not enough to show them flashy special effects. They see million-dollar computer-generated imagery for free in every movie and TV commercial.
So grabbing the interest of Gen Z, especially career interest, requires more than just touching the right nerve. It requires presenting them with an intimate “this could be YOU” encounter that not only tickles their imagination but quickly moves them down the path of personal engagement: A virtual reality experience that bombards their senses with the spirit and style of their favorite video game.
Lima Memorial Health System has figured this out, and just in the nick of time. The shortage of nurses and nursing assistants poses a serious challenge for the entire healthcare industry, and attracting young talent is not an option that can be taken lightly.
On March 27th, Lima Memorial opened its doors to 24 of the region’s brightest future healthcare professionals and gave them a “this could be YOU” encounter. The students in Ashley Rozell’s Patient Care Technology class at Lima Senior High School got an insider glimpse of the world of patient care that will hopefully help seal the deal for these Gen Z healthcare-professionals-to-be.
As is now a common trend in career education, these students are already well on their way to preparing for a healthcare career during high school. When they graduate from this two-year Lima Senior High School program, they will have already earned their State Tested Nursing Assistant certification and will be ready to be hired by the first hospital that can grab them. But first they have to catch the wave. A behind-the-scenes visit to a world-class facility such as Lima Memorial is what can really lock things down for these students, and Lima Memorial knows it.
The goal of the visit was to introduce the students to careers not only in nursing but in therapy, respiratory care and radiology. As Lima Memorial brought these future professionals into their world, the students encountered the nursing floor as if they were on duty. They inspected the operating room area with a nurse’s view, then the emergency room and then the radiological unit. Scenarios were staged to give them a taste of what it might be like to encounter hospital trauma. The students experienced an obstetric simulator and got to investigate what it might feel like to have a laboratory technician’s career.
What made this so special? It was the way Lima Memorial Health Systems absorbed the students in the regular flow of the hospital. Serious virtual reality, only “virtual” because the students weren’t quite ready to be hired on as hospital staff.
For 24 impressionable young professionals-to-be, this was the real thing. “This could be YOU” hit each of these members of Gen Z right in the spirit. To Mackenize Beck, Dakota Carpenter, Kyndaiza Cobb, Miguel Cortes, Mersaides Denson, Kaleacja Foster, Alze Frazier, NyAsia Godsey, Destiny Gonzalez, Davion Gooding, Carlie Hadding, Niesha Harper, Jakyra Hunter, Taliyah Jackson, Gleland Mapp, Kayaunna Mayer, Destiny Montano, Whitney Reed, Precious Smith, Kylee Spees, Talia Spence, Morgan Twining, Tavina Williams and Elyse Kelley, a career on staff at Lima Memorial would be a dream come true.
To Lima Memorial, many of the 24 motivated students would fit the bill to join the crew when they graduate. Their efforts to intrigue and attract this group of talented young people by investing a half a day with them quite simply worked. Perfectly.
Doug Arthur is program director for Link Lima. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.