Not every high school senior knows what they want to do with their life — but not every high school senior is Arman Chowdhury or Kevin Vargas. These two have high aspirations and are already hard at work to achieve their goals.
The high school seniors are employed by Creekside Village Healthcare, where they’ve been gaining healthcare experience by working directly with the senior citizens, under staff supervision.
A Creekside Village resident was reported May 17 to have tested positive for COVID-19, so Chowdhury and Vargas are not at work right now as a precaution for still being able to attend their graduation ceremony May 29.
“We’d love to be working right now instead,” Chowdhury said.
Initially, Chowdhury learned about the job from his mom, who works at the facility, he said. He put in an application and gave one to Vargas; they’re both in the same health science practicum program at school, Chowdhury said.
“They were actually looking for some people to start working and help out,” Chowdhury said. “The staff needs more help because we don’t have a lot of people and there’s a shortage of certified nursing assistants.”
Certified nursing assistants typically work to support nurses by performing tasks such as cleaning up incontinent patients, changing bed linens and assisting patients with showers and meals, Chowdhury said. At Creekside Village, they both work alongside certified nursing assistants to do a lot of the same tasks, Vargas said.
“The way we were told, a law was passed since there’s a shortage in healthcare providers,” he said. “It makes it to where as long as you get the right training you’re able to do some different work that you wouldn’t normally be able to do, which is pretty amazing.”
As part of the health science practicum program, they do clinical rotations at a variety of healthcare settings, Vargas said. Working at Creekside Village allows them to get the hands-on experience they’re missing out on otherwise, he said.
Both of them are hoping to be able to test online through Sweeny High School this year for medical assistant and EKG technician certifications, Vargas said. The certifications might allow them to work in other positions at Creekside or to transfer to a different facility, such as Sweeny Community Hospital, he said.
“Arman and I actually both want to be doctors,” Vargas said. “I want to be an anesthesiologist and he wants to be a trauma surgeon. We’ve got a long way to go, but this is amazing experience for us because hopefully it’ll help us to get our foot in the door.”
Vargas has met four different anesthesiologists, and they’ve all said they love what they do because they get to build connections with patients while working an intense job, he said.
“It’s a very, very important part of any surgery,” Vargas said. “I’ve always wanted to do something close to surgery without actually doing the surgery, as weird as that sounds.”
With a goal of becoming a trauma surgeon, Chowdhury feels differently.
“I’d like to be the difference between life and death and be what makes them choose life,” he said.
Chowdhury has had a lot of experience with the healthcare field throughout his life, which is how he came to feel passionate about it, he said.
His interest in the field first came from his dad’s side of the family, many of whom are doctors, he said.
“My dad’s from Bangladesh, so that’s how it is over there,” he said.
When he was young, he helped take care of his diabetic father by administering insulin, and when Chowdhury was 12, his dad died from trauma to the abdomen, he said. Because they live in a rural area, emergency services weren’t able to arrive quickly enough to save his life.
That’s one thing Chowdhury would like to improve upon, working in healthcare, he said.
“I would like to improve … response times of EMS and more emergency service capabilities to try to help more people survive through that golden hour,” Chowdhury said.
Chowdhury has been in and out of hospitals and has had several knee surgeries due to sports and a genetic defect, which made him more prone to injuries, he said. He was born with a rare neuromuscular condition — paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia — which can cause him to lose control of his body when he exerts himself.
“Through that whole process I’ve connected with a lot of doctors … so I’ve come to meet a lot of good people,” he said.
He’s also gained a lot of personal experience as a patient, which he would like to use as a doctor to help other patients, he said.
“While a lot of doctors are understanding, they might not have that experience going through a lot of things,” Chowdhury said. “I wish to use that knowledge to help other people, to be more understanding of them — I can just compare with my patients and make them feel like they’re human, too.”
While Chowdhury and Vargas gain valuable healthcare experience working at Creekside Village, they both enjoy spending time with the facility’s residents as well, they said.
“You can learn a lot from the stories they have to tell, even if it might take a while for them to get them out,” Vargas said. “Sometimes you can really learn a lot from them because some of them, I’m telling you, they have lived some very, very unique lifestyles.”