Indiana State University Newsroom

Future medical professionals participate in mock competition

November 15, 2012

A sea of nursing scrubs filled the first floor of the Landsbaum Center for Health Education.

Rather than nurses, however, high school students considering careers as future medical professionals wore the dark blue garments.

A total of 74 students participated in a mock Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) competition. HOSA is a national student organization whose goal is to prepare future health professionals.

"The health field is facing so many shortages across the nation. Our mission is to recruit and retain medical professionals in medically underserved areas," said Janet Rose, outreach services coordinator of the Landsbaum Center and representative of the West Central Indiana region of Area Health Education Center.

AHEC hosted the mock competition for the first time this year in hopes of preparing high school students for state and national competitions.

"This gets kids used to a competitive atmosphere," said Rose.

The students represented Parke-Vermillion Educational Training Institute in Clinton, Twin Rivers Health Careers in Linton and Terre Haute South Vigo High School health careers class. The mock competition featured six categories: medical terminology, nursing assisting, extemporaneous health poster, clinical specialty, medical photography and job interview.

For the extemporaneous health poster category, students must create a poster on a health topic they are assigned at the beginning of the session. With no chance to prepare ahead of time, students must draw from their prior knowledge. Tuesday's topic revolved around healthy eating and resulted in posters featuring food pyramids, pictures of fruits and vegetables and healthy eating tips.

North Vermillion High School senior Kylah Norris decorated her poster with phrases such as "Drink at least 8 ounces of fluid per day" and "Make sure to exercise."

She hopes to be a registered nurse or x-ray technician. Norris also participated in the nursing assisting category, where students must demonstrate a health skill.

As her specialty skill, Glory Forrest demonstrated how to swaddle an infant. Forrest, a junior from Rockville, said her dream job is a position in a neonatal intensive care unit.

"HOSA helps you learn about different careers," she said, adding that she has also learned a lot of vocabulary from participating in the medical terminology testing.

A veteran of the medical terminology category is Katie McElheny, former HOSA member and now a freshman nursing and pre-med major at Indiana State University. The Rockville native was involved with HOSA last year at her high school and returned to help out for the mock competition event.

"My experiences with HOSA taught me to work well under pressure," said McElheny.

Indiana State master's student Amber Wannemacher, helped with judging and organizing the event.She assisted AHEC director Louise Anderson with judging the medical photographs.

"I love the personal touches. A lot of times students use their families and show photos of those close to them," said Wannemacher.

She said that while presenting their photos, students often point out positions of health care professionals in the photo that represent their career goals.

"It's fun to see their wheels turning as they discover what they want to do when they grow up."

Wannemacher is still working on that piece of the puzzle as well, hoping to one day hold a degree in public health.

As part of the day's events, Wannemacher gave a presentation describing her experiences in the health field and how to prepare and succeed in college.

She noted how her perspective has changed from participating in AHEC as a high school student to helping put on the event as a judge and presenter.

"I experienced the healthcare field in a different light when I was learning, shadowing and interning. Now, I can use that knowledge and share with elementary, middle and high school students."

Photo: - Riverton Parke High School student Tricia Pearman checks vital signs on Emily Bee, a student at North Vermillion High School, during a mock competition Nov. 6, 2012 at West-Central Indiana Area Health Education Center. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: - Michelle Rayburn of Riverton Parke High School joins other students in the extemporaneous health poster category during the region's first mock Health Occupations Student Association competition Nov. 6, 2012 at the West-Central Indiana Area Health Education Center. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo:  - - Amber Wannemacher, center, joins Kelly Hall (left), program coordinator with the Indiana University School of Medicine-Terre Haute, and Louise Anderson, director of the West-Central Indiana Area Health Education Center, in judging entries in a Health Occupations Student Association mock competition Nov 6, 2012. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Janet Rose, outreach service coordinator, Landsbaum Center for Health Education, 812-237-4356 or

Writer: Bethany Donat, Media relations assistant, ISU Communications and Marketing,