Have you ever thought about going into medicine but are still unsure? Well, a solution for you may be to join your local HOSA Chapter! HOSA stands for Health Occupations Students of America. Although this may sound like it is an exclusively American club, HOSA actually has over 50 charter states including Canada, China, and Mexico! Why would this help you decide your future career path, you may ask? HOSA is a student organization that aims to promote various career paths and opportunities in healthcare. By aiming to improve students’ leadership and communication skills while providing knowledge about the healthcare field, HOSA hopes to help students meet the needs of the healthcare community. From personal experience, joining HOSA for the second year in high school really helped me decide which career path I would like to pursue in the future. Currently, I am in my last year of high school and I plan on participating in HOSA again for the third time.
In grade 10, I had joined HOSA for the first time in the Forensic Science category with a partner. From this experience, I was determined to enter Forensic Science and Criminology in university in the hopes of joining the FBI. In grade 11, I joined the HOSA Bowl category in which every healthcare category, such as forensics, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, first aid and CPR, healthcare careers, safety and infection control, nutrition and the legal aspects of healthcare, was involved. This made me more open-minded towards my future career path. I was determined to go into medicine, but I was unsure of a specific career. After competing with my team at the National Competition, we won first place in the HOSA Bowl category! We moved onto internationals in America, where we competed with around 160 teams from around the world. Many teams had been studying and practicing for months, but we had only studied for a few weeks as we found out HOSA would continue virtually amidst the pandemic. Even though we felt we were not as prepared, in round one, we placed sixth out of 160 teams and in round two, we placed in the top 10! This made me even more determined to enter the healthcare field, as I had gained so much interesting knowledge from this experience that had definitely grown my passion for the field. I would seize every learning opportunity I got to learn even more about health sciences!
Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons why joining HOSA would be beneficial to you if you want to pursue a future career in the medical or healthcare field:
1. Meet like-minded individuals
Through HOSA, I have met so many new people and formed so many connections with students who have similar interests as me. If you join HOSA because of your interest in healthcare, science or medicine, chances are that other people joined for these same reasons! At the conference itself, you see hundreds of people who are all there because of their interest in healthcare, which gives you an opportunity to talk to them and connect instantly.
2. Leadership Opportunities
HOSA is a fantastic way for you to improve your leadership skills. By joining HOSA, you develop effective leadership skills through character development and promoting the sense of responsible leadership. In individual or group events especially, being able to compete on your own or leading your team is significant in the development of these skills, so it is a wonderful way to build on your current qualities and skills. For me personally, the improvements in my leadership skills led me to become more confident, which landed me many executive roles in school and out of school. I became a much better speaker and built onto my communication and collaboration skills. I lead many clubs at school now and I do not hesitate to reach out to teachers or potential speakers for our events.
HOSA provided me, along with many other individuals, with extensive hands-on experience, especially in the fields that I plan on pursuing. During my first year in forensics, we trained with a role-play scenario in which we investigated a crime scene and identified specific details such as time of death, how the person was murdered (based on a blood stain sample), and if the person had any type of medication or drugs in their system at the time of murder (through a post – mortem report). During my time in the HOSA bowl category, the amount of information given was amazing. From careers to history in healthcare to specific diseases of every part of the body and how to treat them, the learning opportunity was HUGE! The amount of experience you gain is invaluable.
4. Build your resume
Not only does HOSA provide you with real-life experience, it also looks great on your resume! I got to compete at the state level and international level, where I was both successful, so it really boosted my resume and extra-curriculars. HOSA is a great way to learn and discover your interests while having fun and competing. Having the opportunity to make it past state level and onto internationals is a wonderful feeling and gives you the motivation to work towards something. This will not only be something that stands out on your resume and applications, but will make you feel accomplished making it that far.
Last but not least, HOSA has many scholarship opportunities! If you are a senior in high school or a student completing your post-secondary studies, you have the chance to win one of many HOSA scholarships, each valued between $1,000 – $2,500! Considering the expensive road to medical school, helping outstanding students with immense amounts of potential with a scholarship opportunity for postsecondary studies is a significant advantage of joining HOSA!
I hope all these incredible opportunities and reasons help convince you to join your local HOSA chapter and do wonders in your own school community and beyond!