CLEVELAND — Sirens, machines beeping and the constant murmur of hospital employees are the normal sounds of MetroHealth, but tucked inside a part of the hospital is the sound of students, teachers and learning.
The Lincoln-West School of Science and Health opened in 2016.
“Given that Lincoln-West High School is literally in our backyard, it made sense for us to partner with them from a science and health perspective to launch a school,” said Alan Nevel the Chief Diversity and HR officer of MetroHealth. “By having that school in this very facility, the students have an opportunity to interact with professionals who are in careers that they aspire to.”
The school is a part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Students as young as freshmen can apply and they’ll split time between MetroHealth and their normal high school throughout their four years.
MetroHealth officials say it’s the only high school in the nation to be located inside a hospital.
“They’re exposed to their science courses, their health courses, English social studies, etcetera,” Nevel said. “As they progress from freshmen, to sophomore, to junior, to senior year they become even more integrated in the broader MetroHealth community.”
Throughout their time at the school, doctors and nurses come in and lecture the students.
For senior Chianne Jones, the school was a turning point for her life.
“It really gives you insight. It’s not just a doctor coming in and telling you what you need to do to make it here. They tell you how to succeed,” she said.
By senior year, students pick a specialty and shadow a MetroHealth employee.
Jones shadowed a nurse.
“It really set in stone, let me know that I want to be a nurse, for sure,” Jones said.
Every single senior in the program was accepted into college. Jones will be going to Cuyahoga Community College and studying to be a nurse. In fact, a big portion of the students will be going into the healthcare field.
For Nevel, that is the ultimate goal.
“Some of our students come from very underprivileged backgrounds, some are homeless, some have conditions where they are, literally, the head of household,” he said. “Knowing that we are trying to make a difference in their lives is really gratifying.”
He said it’s about teaching them that they can make a difference.
“It gives them that visual of ‘Wow, I see somebody who looks like me, someone who comes from a similar background as me, in a role that I aspire to get,’” Nevel said.
Jones said she never thought she would find a passion like nursing.
“I had a million and one doubts, I didn’t think I would make it here, but I thank them for having faith in me,” she said.
MetroHealth is hoping to expand the program in the upcoming years.