Start a medical field journey through the Medical Core elective program


Chloe Falk

Tess Smialowicz and Reed Franz working on needle safety during Rachel de Leon’s Medical Core class. De Leon has been a nurse for 30 years prior to teaching at LBHS.

Chloe Falk, Reporter

If you are interested in a career in the medical field, Rachel de Leon’s Medical Core class could be an excellent start for you. In the course, you can develop technical skills such as evaluating vital signs, learning needle safety, testing blood sugar levels, assessing patients and more.

“As a sophomore, you can volunteer at Mission Hospital, and I just love that,” said de Leon. 

De Leon encourages her students to get volunteer positions at the Mission Hospital and to take Medical Hospital Careers with an internship after school through the College and Career Advantage program.

“One thing I learned that I will carry with me is the importance of teamwork, especially when it comes to caring for patients. There is so much going on at once that you really need to work together to make sure nothing goes wrong,” said Med Core student Maesen Silva.

De Leon assigns her students cases they must diagnose, providing them with an excellent experience for their future paths. These classes also emphasize how having acute mental skills is just as important as having physical skills.

“I want my students to be able to look at a case and use their critical thinking skills. For example, if a case featured an issue with the cardiovascular system, my students would know all the diagnostic tests that they would need for a specific illness, such as an echocardiogram or an EKG,” said de Leon. 

There are varied medical careers one can pursue. In de Leon’s class, students learn about these pathways to explore the options that best suit them.

“This class prepares me for the medical field because I’m able to learn so much about different terms and conditions that I will need to know for nursing school! It makes my life a lot easier,” said senior Avalon Bencz.

This class helps open a door for students by giving them the experience of all different medical scenarios. In De Leon’s Med Core class, students can narrow down the career they believe suits them best. Her students have a high degree of freedom in their learning, and by putting them in real scenarios, this class prepares them for the significant number of career opportunities that await them.

“There are almost 200 careers in healthcare. So, most people know they want to be a doctor, a nurse or a physical therapist. However, you can follow many other medical careers, and I want to open those opportunities to all my students,” said de Leon. 

At the end of each semester, students have the opportunity to work on projects that further enhance their creative and critical thinking skills. For example, there is a Shark Tank project at the end of the fall semester. 

“For this project, students invent a product that can be marketable and helpful,” said de Leon. 

Then, at the end of the school year, students get a case they must diagnose themselves. 

“I give them a case as if they were a doctor in an emergency room. They have to run the case from start to finish and find the diagnosis,” said de Leon. 

For students still deciding upon an elective for the 2023-24 school year, Med Core could very well provide the perfect environment for individuals to find themselves. 

“My favorite thing about the class is how it has an open concept structure. We’re able to have open conversations, ask whatever questions we have, and also dive into a deeper discussion about it without judgment!” said Bencz.