BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville School Department and Eleanor Slater Hospital are joining forces to provide high school students a firsthand look at the world of healthcare, according to a joint release from Supt. Michael Sollitto and the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals.
The collaboration will allow students to shadow workers at Eleanor Slater Hospital’s Beazley facility, better known as Zambarano, providing opportunities to learn through mentoring, observation and hands-on experience while earning credit toward their Career and Technical Education Pathway programs.
At the same time, the hospital will be able to highlight the care it provides to some of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable individuals and encourage students to enter the healthcare field, according to state officials.
“The Zambarano campus of Eleanor Slater Hospital has long been part of the Burrillville community, and it only makes sense for us to work together in a way that enriches the education of students and helps the hospital to promote its work and the career options it offers,” said Brett Johnson, CEO of Eleanor Slater Hospital. “That’s what makes this collaboration truly a win-win. Students will be able to experience the world of healthcare and get a firsthand look at the care the hospital provides for some of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable patients, and we at the hospital hope that this will lead to young people one day applying for jobs to work at Eleanor Slater.”
Currently, state officials are mapping out plans for $100 million in investments in the Burrillville facility, with a new hospital to replace an outdated building on the campus. The partnership with Burrillville schools was discussed in a meeting last month as one means to address the healthcare staffing shortage as officials seeks new hires at an expanded 100-bed Zambarano.
The collaboration is reportedly expected to be up and running this spring.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Eleanor Slater Hospital, Zambarano Unit, to benefit our Career and Technical Education Pathway Programs at Burrillville High School,” said Sollitto. “Working together, we will foster a positive working relationship that will allow our students experiential learning opportunities. Several of our CTE programs will be positively impacted by this relationship, including our Biomedical Pathway, Environmental Science, Construction Management, Graphic Communications, and others.”
Just as it draws students from several CTE programs, the collaboration will also allow students to learn about many aspects of the healthcare field.
“Through mentoring, shadowing and firsthand observation, students will be able to see that there are many opportunities in healthcare, with career tracks that include registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, skilled trade workers, and rehabilitative professionals, to name just a few,” said Jennifer McCarthy, administrator of Eleanor Slater Hospital’s Zambarano campus. “This collaboration will also help students to see how people with different educational and professional backgrounds work together to assist and care for people with significant medical and behavioral challenges, helping those people to meet their own lifetime goals.”