“Education to Careers” Program Helps High School Students Take First Steps to a Career in Nursing

Anela Arabelovic and Delanie Kwiecinski recently graduated from Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois. Thanks to the Education to Careers Program at the high school, the two women now know what career path they want to pursue. They chose nursing.

The Education to Careers program began 15 years ago as the brainchild of Lisa Edelson, a former director of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce. The program brings local business and company representatives to the high school during student’s junior and senior years to talk to students about different career options. Since its inception, more than 70 businesses have come into the classrooms to mentor students.

Edelson feels that the program is important because it helps students get information about careers before they choose a college major and invest time in money in something they have no interest in. She says that having the students actually be able to listen to someone instead of just reading about it in a book gives them a fuller understanding of the career.

Arabelovic and Kwiecinski were able to shadow registered nurse, Jen Archilla for two nights in the neonatal unit at Evanston Hospital. The experience left the young women with a certainty that this was what they wanted to do with their lives.

They also said the short internship assured them that they were strong enough to handle the experiences of being a nurse. “You have to be strong because some of the babies don’t make it,” said Kwiecinski. Both women understand that there will be many emotional challenges throughout their career but they also understand the rewards that come from a career in nursing.

The program armed Arabelovic and Kwiecinski with the knowledge that they are 100 percent committed to becoming nurses. Kwiecinski adds that the experience gave her the peace of mind that she was making the right career decision.