High school classes by day, hospital rotations by night

Youth resident Pari Shah gains real world experience


The students in the Youth Residency Program stand together in their scrubs.(Courtesy of Pari Shah)

By Fiona Brady

Ask a student at Huntley High School what an average day looks like for them, and you would most likely get average answers. Homework, extracurricular activities, and sports are all possible responses. However, senior Pari Shah, as well as her peers who participate in the Youth Residency program, tend to have a bit of a different answer.

On the days that Shah has the opportunity to attend a rotation at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, she leaves school early and travels to one of the sites where students have their rotations. Soon after, she checks in to her assigned department and proceeds to shadow the corresponding medical professional. From the Wounds department to the Emergency Room, she receives authentic on-the-job experiences that few students get.

According to Shah, she has taken many medical classes at Huntley High School that are part of the Medical Academy. However, she wanted to expand that knowledge even more.

“[The medical courses] have a lot of bookwork,” Shah said. “So I wanted to apply that knowledge to the real world and see what others do with that.”  

Although there have been instances where not a lot of action goes on during the rotations, Shah values these experiences as much as the times where her observations are filled with activity.

“I think my favorite part is just learning the realities of the field that I want to go into,” Shah said. “There have been days where I’ve gone in and done absolutely nothing, and I still like doing that because I can see what a normal day is like. There’s no filter.” 

Sheilagh DeLorenzo, who runs the Youth Residency program, describes the students who are selected to participate as motivated and higher-achieving students. Shah is no exception to this.

“She’s really ambitious,” DeLorenzo said. “She is very personable and loves to talk about her experiences and the things that she’s done.” 

Additionally, students alongside Shah in the Youth Residency program enjoy this unique opportunity to gain more experience in the medical field. Senior Kylie Rankin has had the chance to shadow an ER nurse and interact with different patients while on her rotation.

“I have been able to see different conditions in the hospital, how different scenarios happen, and how the staff responds to them,” Rankin said. 

Shah’s experience as a Youth Resident has been engaging and especially beneficial to her future plans regarding a career in the medical field. 

“I think that it definitely will [help me in the future] because I know what I’m getting myself into,” Shah said. “I’ve been able to narrow down my interests, and even create new options and things I have never even thought of before.”