HOSA’s Sophia Chen qualifies for international competition

April 26, 2018

One of the newest, and arguably one of the most successful, clubs at Renton High is HOSA: Future Health Professionals. It is popular in schools across the nation and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Association for Career and Technical Education.

“HOSA’s mission is to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development of all Health Sciences education students, therefore helping students to meet the needs of the health care community,” said Ms. Arndt, the adviser for Renton High School’s HOSA.

HOSA is the largest student-led organisation for those passionate in medical and healthcare careers, and annual competitions allow students to display their skills in various events such as nursing, biomedical debate, and emergency medicine. Participants can compete individually, in partners, or even in teams.

This year, Washington State’s annual three-day competition was held March 15-17 in Spokane. The first day featured an opening ceremony to welcome the competitors from schools all over Washington, while the actual competition judging occurred on day two, as well as workshops and even a hypnotist show. The final day was a closing ceremony where the top five in each event were announced.

For Junior Sophia Chen, the preparations for her event, medical photography, began long before the day of competition. Chen connected with three different healthcare professionals, photographing their practices and writing descriptions of each of their careers. During judgement, the submissions are narrowed down to eleven individuals using a rubric. These eleven move on to round two,  where they present their work orally to decide final placements. During the closing ceremony, Chen learned that she had placed third overall, qualifying her for the international HOSA competition in June of 2018, held in Dallas, Texas.

“ It felt very surreal. I didn’t think that I would make it past round 1, let alone qualify for internationals. […] I was very happy as I had been preparing for the competition months before competitions even began,” Chen said.

Ms. Arndt also praised Chen for her hard work, and acknowledged the team’s camaraderie in celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

“It was an amazing accomplishment, especially for her first year.  What was also wonderful was how genuinely excited her teammates were for her as well. They cheered so loud and surrounded her with support and congratulations,” exclaimed Arndt.

Even for students who did not move on to Internationals, the experience of being present at the conference was  just as rewarding. Junior Michelle Nguyen, another member of HOSA, shared parts of her experience as well.

“I made so many memories with my friends and got to meet so many new people. We were all there just to have fun and try our best,” said Nguyen.

Ms. Arndt also spoke to her experience at the competition, and what it was like to see her students succeeding at their first ever competition.

“ None of us really knew what to expect.  I was just proud they were all brave enough to compete and try something new out of their comfort zone. All of the students represented Renton High School so well,” said Arndt.

HOSA provides a unique opportunity for students to explore various careers and practices within medical fields and to discover if their passions truly lie in healthcare. In fact, Ms. Arndt even described her favorite aspect of being the adviser for HOSA as listening to students speak excitedly about their futures, even if they are unsure of a specific career. Just the fact that HOSA members are provided opportunities and and options is well worth it. Nguyen echoed these thoughts, describing how as a part of HOSA, she has been able to learn about different types of careers in medical fields that she didn’t even know existed.

HOSA has also allowed students like Chen to further explore careers she knew she had an interest in. Through her medical photography competition event, Chen was able to photograph a pharmacist as one of her subjects.

“He let me shadow him while he worked, and brought me into their facilities’ pharmacy. …At the time, I was starting to doubt if I actually wanted to become a pharmacist or not, but it [the experience] made me realize that pharmacy was something that I wanted to pursue,” shared Chen.

HOSA members are able to learn skills that are beneficial to their futures, regardless if they eventually pursue healthcare careers or not. Students were able to learn CPR, and a few members were even able to become certified in BLS, or basic life support.

 “I am privileged to be working with such a great group of students. They are paving the way for future years to come, which is no easy task since all decisions are student driven. I get to take a back seat and enjoy the ride,” said Ms. Arndt.

She also pointed out how one day, these same students may be working right alongside her in a healthcare profession, or maybe one day, her life may be in their hands.  As the club expands, members and advisory alike are optimistic for the future of the club and its members, after the successes of their first year.

HOSA meets on Mondays after school in Ms. Ardnt’s room, #165.

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