Setting her sights on a career as a nurse, Baylie Gerrity, area student, recently had the opportunity to speak and visit with medical professionals, students and patients during the National Youth Leadership on Medicine in Boston, Mass.
Gerrity, who will be entering her sophomore year at St. John Neumann Regional Academy in the fall, said she always has wanted to work in the medical field.
"I've always loved helping people. So, I wanted to do something that involved people," she said on why she wants to become a nurse.
After mentioning her career goal to her English teacher at Neumann, John Litchfield, he nominated her to attend the medical forum this summer.
Gerrity said she was surprised as she didn't remember the conversation but she also was grateful that Litchfield not only remembered but nominated her for such an experience.
The forum on medicine is hosted in 12 cities across the country. Those who attended the Boston site, like Gerrity, stayed at Babson College and were able to meet with many in the medical field.
"We did a lot of stuff," Gerrity remembered.
Students met with doctors and visited hospitals, as well as spoke with medical students.
"We got to see first-hand what it's like (to be a medical students)," Gerrity said.
Students also had the opportunity to see medical procedures up close, Gerrity explained. While visiting a facility in Rhode Island, the group worked with cadavers. And despite being in the Boston area, they witnessed and spoke with a surgeon in Ohio.
"We got to witness a live knee surgery," Gerrity said.
She added that the surgeon does hundreds of knee surgeries a year.
"They had walkie talkies so we could talk with the doctor while he did the procedure," she said.
But those working in the medical field weren't the only ones she talked to. Gerrity and her peers met and spent time with AIDS patients, which she said was a powerful experience to hear their stories.
Overall, having an open mind and considering all options is what she learned from the medical forum. She said speaking with the professionals, as well as her peers, who came from California, Florida, Puerto Rico and Canada, allowed her to have so many valuable experiences.
And while the opportunity solidified her path in medicine, she also is considering a career in public health along with nursing.
By having the experience, said it has given her motivation as she goes through high school.
"Now I have something to motivate me. And something to work for," Gerrity said.