Jackie Uselton, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas
Jackie Uselton’s career spans 14 years in the health sciences field where she strives to give her students an exciting hands-on learning experience. She has always aspired to be a clinical instructor to teach students about career opportunities, college choices and how to be prepared for a successful and safe future. Uselton currently teaches Health Science Clinical Rotations at Westlake High School and is the program manager for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course which is an emergency response FEMA course.
Uselton incorporates workplace safety training into both of her programs in order to set a standard of situational awareness necessary to be successful in what can often be high stress, fast paced environment. Uselton boasts a 100% success rate in her safety training over the last 14 years and never sends a student out into the “real world” without workplace safety training. She believes that embedding safety into her curriculum sets the health and safety standards for her classroom and their learning and volunteering activities. “We always ensure everyone is safe. When I teach the clinical class that travels to the hospital, I ask them to write a paper about any unsafe behaviors they see while observing staff at their clinical site. In the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class, we discuss the buddy system and have them practice staying together while searching during a scavenger hunt,” Uselton explains.
The CERT course is partnered with the City of Austin where her students that are part of the CERT club are offered the chance to be part of an active deployment team which provides them opportunities to be involved in school and community events. Students have participated in hospital drills and exercises as role play victims to prepare emergency rooms for mass casualty incidents. Uselton is also partnered with the National Guard to volunteer for decontamination drills and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for mass casualty drills. Through all these opportunities, students are able to demonstrate proper search and rescue, disaster medical operations, and triage techniques.
Her clinical rotation students complete rotations at three different local hospitals throughout the year. They are able to observe medical professionals and are often asked to help lift someone, push a patient in a wheelchair, and even lift a gurney. To add a bit of cheer for individuals who might be having a rough time, her students help decorate hospital floors and nursing homes for Halloween and Christmas. “There are times during their clinicals that their OSHA training comes in handy or they’re able to point out safety precautions and hazards. It’s fun to see that they have absorbed the information and are applying it,” says Uselton. Each year, her students volunteer at local middle schools and teach the “hands only” CPR course to students. They also offer the CPR training to the entire community through their local library and strive to educate their peers on proper technique in the hope’s that one day it can save a life.
Her students’ community involvement along with the certifications and credentials prove to be invaluable when they are filling out their college applications and resumes. The addition of the OSHA credential to her students’ resumes has been a turning point when they are interviewed for jobs. It has given students more open doors for shadowing and internship at hospitals, pharmacies and other clinical sites.
“No matter how much we value the training that a first job can give to a young worker, there is never an excuse for a worker not to be supervised and trained in safety procedures. Our future depends on the health and education of our youth.”