This semester, Pensacola Christian College hosted its first-ever Health Professions Career Fair, an event similar to Educator Recruitment and Career Fair that brings in healthcare professionals to meet with graduating seniors. “It’s just a good way to start out because you have someone to talk to in person, and it’s a great way for [organizations] to get their information out there, get new workers, and also for us to get jobs quickly after graduation,” said Zach Abot (Sr., MD), a nursing student.
Held in the MacKenzie Great Hall, the event saw a steady flow of students that kept representatives busy with answering questions, collecting contact information and résumés, and getting to know PCC’s seniors ahead of graduation. During the event, students were able to meet with 10 separate organizations, including Baptist Health Care, Aveanna Healthcare, Vitas Healthcare, and Liberty University for graduate school opportunities.
Samantha Gagnon, director of operations for Family First Homecare, enjoyed attending the event. While it’s not her first career fair, it was her first time seeing what PCC and its students are like. “The students are great and are very enthusiastic, and the turnout has been excellent. I’ve really enjoyed being able to share information about home health,” she said. “I found that many of the students didn’t really have an awareness that you can work with pediatrics in a home health setting, and that may have changed their minds and given them more options in terms of what they might choose to do after graduating. The opportunity to network and introduce the specialty to them has been great.”
Fedricka Dolce (Sr., The Bahamas) was excited to attend and learn about the different venues in which she could use her nursing degree, especially after speaking with pediatrics professionals. “It’s pretty nice that the college is offering this. It takes a big stress off of me to know that I can come in here and I can find potential job offers,” she said. “I can make my résumé and I don’t have to go out on my own looking for information, but I can find a reliable source right here. Having local hospitals here is pretty amazing for people that want to stay [in Pensacola].”
Melissa Carroll, executive director of Emerald Coast Hospice, enjoyed sharing career-building opportunities in hospice healthcare with those who dropped by her table at the event. “The students that have come through have all been incredibly energetic and open,” she said. “We currently have a position open for registered nurse case manager. We have a position open for a certified nursing assistant, which would otherwise be a home health aide. And then the other thing that we wanted to talk about was as a career builder—volunteerism and volunteering with hospice on a very wide range of tasks that we have. We have administrative volunteers, and the spectrum goes all the way up to 11-hour volunteers that actually sit with patients. Having a beneficial relationship back and forth, that is also going to help you to have a little extra on your résumé. When you’re first starting out, that’s when your grades and your clinical rotations will speak for themselves. But [volunteering] will also show that you have that servant’s heart, that you’ve been out in the community, and [you weren’t] just hitting the books.”
“I think, from a core value, that PCC students have that servant’s heart,” Melissa continued. “It’s something that’s ingrained here. It’s part of the culture of the campus. And when you talk about hospice, I think that’s something that translates very easily.”
Dr. Maybeth Elliot, chair of PCC’s Nursing Department, has appreciated how the new event gives students the opportunity to forge professional connections by holding the health-focused event earlier in the semester. “In more recent years, the college offered a general Career Fair. However, it was difficult for the nursing students to attend because most were out in the community doing their clinical practice,” she said. “Mr. Brad Mullenix and his team worked hard to find a solution and came up with a separate health-focused career fair that falls on a date when the majority of our junior and senior nursing students can attend.”
“I think it’s a good networking opportunity; when we interview in the future, especially if we get an interview with one of these companies, these companies will have already known that we were seeking jobs,” said Danielle Janolo (Sr., FL).
The Health Professions Career Fair was only the first of PCC’s fairs, with Educator Recruitment and Career Fair, as well as virtual versions of the events, to be held later this semester. “Even if you’re not graduating, I think it’s a good idea to get an understanding of how companies are going to work to communicate with other people,” said Diana Li (Jr., China), a student studying medical office administration and legal office systems. “Even though [making connections] doesn’t seem like a big deal right now, it may be a really big help later on.”