Mayan Medical Aid
Career Building:
Learning Marketable Skills
Photo: Mayan Medical Aid
Mayan Medical Aid's Career Building Project is an all-encompassing endeavor to teach essential and marketable, workplace skills. By means of an immersive experience in a medical environment, participants engage and invest intelligently and academically in all aspects of our project.

Even though the project has a health care emphasis, the project serves as a career-building model for all professional careers. For this reason, we make it easy for participants take an interest in everything we do, from management of direct patient care and participation in health care betterment research to the development and promotion of systems and procedures.

Another important aspect of the project is to introduce participants to another culture, complete with exposure to its significant cultural and linguistic differences. In so doing, participants become particularly adept culturally, and learn a great deal of Spanish.

They also acquire an acute awareness of how people from a different culture live, think, and develop their own expectations about life, medical care, and their future. Although the cultural and Spanish knowledge participants gain is oriented to the health care arena, this knowledge will serve them well, in no matter in which leadership venue they subsequently might find themselves.

The language component functions to ensure that participants come to understand not simply the words our patients say, but more important, what those words actually mean to these patients. As a result, they become excellent communicators, develop superior interview skills, and, thereby, learn to gain easily the trust of persons from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

The work aspect of our project provides participants with the tools they will need in the future to assume tasks, which require responsibility and attention to detail. We teach participants to complete tasks in a competent and caring fashion. The result is that they develop an understanding of the benefits of achieving excellence, as well as how to become a positive influence as they accomplish all work assigned.

These two components combine to instruct participants about the necessity to work well as a part of a team and how to treat our indigenous staff members, in addition to their co-participants, with respect. To meet these goals, participants learn the value of flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to learn from their experiences each day.

They also learn to become adept at getting outside of their own culture. As such, they become expert at displaying genuine concern for our patients and the terrible misfortune they face by having to suffer the social, health, and economic inequities associated with a dysfunctional, government-guided health care system.

During their clinical time with us, participants develop impressive maturity and competence. They acquire the skills necessary to smoothly switch from one needed task to the next, in a completely supervised environment:

a) communicating in Spanish with patients and interpreters,

b) carefully taking patient histories in Spanish,

c) collaborating with attending physicians in both Spanish and English to establish accurate diagnoses, and

d) helping to implement culturally appropriate therapy.

Participants additionally become successful at learning how to demonstrate both initiative and an ability to learn rapidly. In short, they come to us as novices, and they leave with an important expertise. They gain these understandings due not only to the best use of their intelligence, but also because their time with us teaches them to place a great deal of importance on working and studying seriously.

Our participants become exceptional people. They acquire, through an immersion experience, the necessary tools to build a career of their choice. They end the project – much as they would complete a liberal arts education – with an admirable and generalized concern for their fellow human beings, including the possession of a better understanding of how to respect human dignity and how to value humanitarian service.

In sum, they come to believe that access to high-quality human services and a good quality of life are important for all people, no matter what their socio-economic status or their cultural background might be. This knowledge, combined with empathy, concern, and the acquired ability to gain the trust of others, becomes a defining characteristic of participants for the rest of their lives. It also serves participants well in the future as they create the building blocks essential to having success at their chosen career paths.

Copyright by
Craig A. Sinkinson 2018
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