UHD concludes first academic year of High Step Health Science Academy

BLUE EARTH, Minn. (KEYC) – United Hospital District (UHD) announced the successful completion of its first college-level healthcare careers class.

Emerging from a partnership between Blue Earth Area High School (BEAHS) and South Central Service Cooperative (SCC), the new High Step Health Science Academy offered fall and spring courses to eligible juniors and seniors at BEAHS for the 2022-2023 school year.

The fall semester ended with 30 students finishing a Healthcare Core Foundations course, which amounts to four college credits from SCC. The spring semester saw 26 students complete a Medical Terminology course, amounting to three college credits from SCC.

Human Resources Manager for UHD, Shanna Gudahl, is credited with breathing life into the course. It has taken years of discussion and development, including an interruption by the COVID19 pandemic, to see this vision come to fruition.

“This was an excellent opportunity for us to educate and engage local students in healthcare careers,” Gudahl commented. “We also think it has potential to be a very successful recruiting tactic for UHD.”

While most of the classes were completed online, UHD hosted weekly in-person sessions from September of 2022 to May of 2023.

Nearly 20 UHD professionals in various capacities gave presentations about their fields, including training requirements and day-to-day expectations.

Some interactive demonstrations allowed students to explore equipment and tools, as they are related to patient care.

Course topics included:

  • Healthcare Career Exploration
  • Healthcare Communications
  • Employability Skills
  • Safety Practices
  • Teamwork and Leadership in Healthcare.

Students surveyed various medical specialties and the various systems within the human body.

All classes were led by SCC Regional Health Science Educator and Coordinator Dustin Julius, a professional educator for more than 15 years.

Based in Blue Earth, MN, UHD was recognized as a 2023 Best Small Hospital Under 25 Beds and a 2022 Top 200 Workplace in Minnesota.