Creating Curriculum for the Next Generation of Healthcare Professionals

A Blog for CTE Teachers

Creating Curriculum for the Next Generation of Healthcare Professionals

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving and is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is anticipated to grow 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all other occupations, adding nearly 2.3 million jobs to the workforce. Such growth requires ongoing training and development, creating the need for comprehensive materials to ensure the next generation of healthcare professionals is properly prepared to handle all situations. The best way for students to learn about the healthcare industry is to learn from professionals who are already working in the field every day.

Integrating Industry Expertise

Through Career and Technical Education (CTE), schools are training many students to meet the needs of the workforce and the careers they will enter after graduation. Curriculum developers like CEV Multimedia are partnering with healthcare providers like Covenant Health to create health science curriculum that aligns to educational standards, provides opportunities for professionals to share their expertise, and ensures student success as they enter the workforce.

“Providing this curriculum and materials about health science to students early on can give them more options with regard to what career path they embark on and may help them learn about a career they may never have heard of,” said Leslie Cranford, media relations coordinator for Covenant Health.

By partnering with Covenant Health, CEV Multimedia was able to rely on the expertise and knowledge of the healthcare provider’s many industry professionals to develop a curriculum offered through CEV Multimedia’s online learning platform, iCEV. As a fellow Lubbock-based business, Covenant Health was a logical partner for the health science curriculum, serving a 62-county area with more than 1.2 million people.

“The way they handle patient interaction is impressive and they have a really good reputation for dealing with ethical issues that come up,” said Whitney Orth, assistant brand manager at CEV Multimedia. “The fact that we could talk and work with an organization that is respected and upholds a high set of standards really stood out to us, and the final health science product reflected their expertise and depth of knowledge in the industry.”

Curriculum Development

To develop the health science curriculum, CEV Multimedia first identifies types of health science courses offered in school districts across the nation and analyzes state and national educational standards for each course. Next, CEV Multimedia conducts research to determine what information to include in the curriculum and creates an outline dividing the course materials into lessons which function as topic units. Then curriculum developers begin to identify leading industry experts to contribute to the lessons within each course.

The outline for CEV Multimedia’s health science curriculum consists of five career pathways –biotechnology research and development, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services and therapeutic services. Each path relates to 12 or more different jobs per category within the healthcare industry. Based on what was included in the curriculum outline, Covenant Health was able to reach out to experts who could discuss the information and materials that would be included in each lesson and course.

“Things can get complicated and complex, so we have to keep our materials concise and useable, but also try to include as much as we can. It’s an interesting journey, but one that benefits teachers and students in the long run,” Orth said. “In the health science field, trying to include everything in the curriculum that we feel is important without making the course long or including too many lessons is a challenge.”

CEV Multimedia’s team develops questions for the interviews to shape the discussion around specific subject matters. After the interviews, CEV Multimedia conducts additional research and completes a script to fill in any holes. They integrate interview clips, narration, footage of industry processes, and graphic elements to create a polished production that fully explains the concept. In addition, an accompanying lesson plan with assessments, projects and more is developed to provide guidance for how teachers can best implement the lesson in the classroom. The experts then review the final product to ensure the most important information is included.

“The doctors and healthcare professionals were extremely collaborative during the entire process, and really involved and willing to help with anything we needed from them when producing the curriculum,” said Amy Hogan, brand manager at CEV Multimedia. “We know health science professionals are very busy people, but as collaborators they were excited to contribute their knowledge and want kids to be excited, interested and well-informed in their field and prospective career paths.”

“The doctors and healthcare professionals were extremely collaborative during the entire process, and really involved and willing to help with anything we needed from them when producing the curriculum.”

Keeping It Current

After successful collaboration on a project, there are frequently more opportunities for the partnering companies to continue working together to bring new and fresh topics to supplement the materials already included in the curriculum. With health science changing so rapidly, keeping curriculum up to date is essential. “Hot Topics” are supplemental lessons within courses used to cover controversial issues or new trends in health science, such as stem cell research or pharmaceuticals.

“The ‘Hot Topics’ series fits into the same set of healthcare subjects within the overall curriculum and covers the subjects students hear about online and in the news that would be interesting to them,” Cranford said. “Hearing about cutting-edge technology and trends gets them excited about the profession, and while it’s important that they learn the day-to-day ethical issues of the industry, it’s also important for them to see the fun and innovative side and give them a window into the health science world.”

The health science and healthcare industry is ripe for opportunity as an increasing number of students take interest in pursuing education and training paths that lead to a long and beneficial career in healthcare. Through CTE, training opportunities and the real-world expert knowledge gained from industry collaborations can ensure that the most passionate students are introduced to an industry that touches and cares for the livelihood of everyone.

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