STEM Spotlight: Everything you need to know about HOSA

HOSA is an international student-led organization seeking to help students explore healthcare professions.

Courtesy of Facebook

HOSA is an international student-led organization seeking to help students explore healthcare professions.

What is histology? What is a common cause of injury for an MCL sprain? How do you measure and record blood pressure and/or heart rate? These are just a few of the questions students will tackle as part of Cherry Hill East’s chapter of HOSA. HOSA – Future Healthcare Professionals (previously known as Health Occupations Students of America) is an international organization that gives students the opportunity to learn more about the fields of healthcare through competitions and conferences. Currently, it is East’s second year sponsoring a HOSA chapter for competitions. Here at East, HOSA is sponsored by school nurses Ms. Sheehan and Ms. Patrone. Here’s everything you need to know about this healthcare-centered extracurricular and how you can get involved!

What is HOSA?
HOSA is an international student-led organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. HOSA serves as a way to help students prepare for, as well as explore their interests in healthcare. HOSA operates internationally, and also has different associations present in almost all 50 states in the US. HOSA allows students around the world to compete in 56 different categories of health related events from state, country, and international levels. Along with this, joining HOSA provides leadership and volunteer service opportunities, as well as opportunities to earn scholarships.

Why should I get involved with HOSA and East?
HOSA is great for anyone looking to get a taste of the workload required to pursue a career in healthcare. It also gives students a deeper understanding of the medical field. “HOSA is meant to show everyone what the healthcare field is about and prepare students for what’s next. Even with this, there should be no stress,” said HOSA Vice President Noa Pecarsky.

HOSA is an especially great club if you are interested in pursuing a career in the medical field because it is also sponsored in many colleges. It can really benefit you later on to get a head start through HOSA and learn valuable information about the medical field. Joining HOSA with a group of friends is also a great idea as there are many options for team events.

How about specific events, what events are there and how do I know which one to choose?
Here are the outtakes of some HOSA school officers on their favorite events and why they love them!

Job Seeking Skills: “[In this event], I create a resume for a potential job and have a professional interview with a HOSA judge. I like this event because it requires me to further develop life long skills,” said HOSA President Jillian MacHenry.

Medical Terminology: This event is the most popular HOSA event. It requires those participating to pass a test about medical terms. “I have participated in medical terminology these past two years because I liked the challenge of memorizing prefixes, suffixes, anatomy, physiology, [and more] related to health fields,” said HOSA Assistant Fundraising Chairperson Sara Rozengarten.

First Aid/CPR: “My favorite [event] is First Aid/CPR because it gives you a real life situation and you have to answer questions like you are the doctor,” said HOSA Vice President Noa Pecarsky.

HOSA Bowl: This event involves being familiar with “medical terminology and … also information involving HOSA as a whole,” said HOSA Membership Chairperson Sarah Greenspun.

How do I prepare for HOSA?
Preparing for HOSA should be an enjoyable experience and utilizing any resources available to you may be helpful. Talking to any family members or friends you know that work in the medical field is really helpful for developing a sense of medical intuition and learning about the healthcare field from a unique perspective. East also provides a Dynamics of Healthcare course and a Human Anatomy and Physiology course. These can be a great way to integrate HOSA preparation into your daily routine. Online resources and practice tests from previous years can also be extremely helpful, especially when preparing for events like the medical terminology event where you just need to know lots of healthcare related terms. Employing common studying strategies like making flashcards, reading medical papers, reading textbooks, and quizzing yourself can all significantly boost your arsenal of medical information.

How do HOSA competitions work?
There are 6 main categories of HOSA competitions: health science events, health professions events, leadership events, teamwork events, emergency preparedness events, and recognition events. Under each category there are multiple sub-events but they tend to follow the same competition hierarchy.

Health science events all incorporate some sort of traditional written test, multiple choice test, or tests that prompt competitors to solve mathematical problems.

Health professions events ask competitors to participate in a written test, with the top competitors advancing onto round 2 where they participate in a hands-on experience, demonstrating skills related to the specific career of their choice. The clinical speciality sub-event asks competitors to videotape a demonstration of a specific health-related skill.

Leadership events ask competitors to fulfill a versatile selection of leadership skills such as writing a timed essay, showcasing photographs, job interview simulations, giving a speech, posing a research hypothesis, and more.

Teamwork events involve teams of 2-8 members who either collaborate on a written test, analyze a medical case together, prepare a lesson or instruct an audience. Most of these events also include a second round if your team scores high enough.

Emergency preparedness events involve teams or individuals who take part in either written tests, develop a presentation, or develop a portfolio. Most of the written tests have a second round for those who do well enough in the first round.

Recognition events showcase specific members of HOSA and give specific participants recognition for certain achievements like volunteer hours, leadership, or certain media events.

How has COVID affected Hosa competitions?
Covid has forced all written tests and events to occur from home. Written tests occur synchronously on computers. Events now must occur from home, but participants say that HOSA is still fun nevertheless.