In honor of National Rural Day on November 16, McKenzie Health System invited local schools to tour the McKenzie Hospital Campus and participate in entertaining and educational activities to build awareness about the healthcare needs of rural communities and inspire interest in healthcare careers. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) founded National Rural Health Day (NRHD) in 2011 as an opportunity to recognize the “power of rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded spirit that prevails in rural America. Over the years, NRHD has transformed from a day-long event to a sustainable movement, recognized annually on the third Thursday of November.
The Sherlock Holmes themed tour included fun and informative activities to help students explore the many career options in local healthcare. Students competed in a scavenger hunt to win a pizza party for their school participants. All students won in terms of expanding their understanding of the healthcare field as they think about their future; the school who collectively answered the highest percentage of questions correctly was Sandusky High School at 97.2%. Photos from the tours of each participating school, which included Carsonville-Port Sanilac, Croswell-Lexington, Peck, and Sandusky, are available on McKenzie Health System’s Facebook page.
Rural America is an excellent place for mission-minded health professionals to provide individualized care. McKenzie showcased careers in both medical and non-medical fields that students may want to pursue including providers, nurses, radiologists, phlebotomists, health information management, administration, social work, billing and coding, and human resources.
According to NOSORH findings, “Compared to urban nurse practitioners, rural NPs report being more satisfied with their jobs, fully practicing to the extent of their license, and anticipate staying in their jobs much longer.”
Rural America is fueling an innovative rural health infrastructure that addresses the beautiful yet challenging landscape. NOSORH states that “roughly 1300 Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and 900 other rural hospitals support rural communities’ acute care landscape,” including McKenzie Health System, just one piece of the rural healthcare puzzle. Along with other rural healthcare providers, State Offices of Rural Health, and rural stakeholders, they deliver unique approaches to address healthcare challenges that rural citizens face today and in the future.
“National Rural Health Day is a special time for McKenzie Health System and our community,” says Billi Jo Hennika, Chief Operating Officer at McKenzie Health System. “We pride ourselves on being an organization focused on reaching for the best way to provide rural healthcare for our patients, and planning for future generations of healthcare workers is part of that focus. Our intention was to inspire local students, and I believe every department who participated in these tours would agree that the students were an inspiration to them.”