Coppell High School senior Isha Thakkar is the vice president of the CHS Health Occupations of America (HOSA) club and will be attending the University of Texas at Dallas this fall. Majoring in healthcare studies, Thakkar loves working with kids and wants to make both part of her career.
What is healthcare studies?
Healthcare studies is basically for people who want to go into the medical field but not necessarily medical school; there’s lots of other careers other than just becoming a doctor, such as anything that doesn’t require becoming a doctor, like physical therapy (PT), or optometry or physical assistance that doesn’t require going to medical school and then residency.
What career are you pursuing?
I’m most likely going to do healthcare studies with a pre-PT focus. I want to go into most likely rehab, except I would probably do a residency in pediatric therapy so I would work with kids rather than adults. I was kind of debating on what I wanted to do in the medical field. I always knew I wanted to become a doctor, but once I grew up I realized, maybe not a doctor…because there is a lot of time spent in school. But I still had an interest in the medical field. I was debating between optometry or PT, but just the whole aspect of helping people after the fact, after they become injured, and helping people get back their ability and get back to what they love to do every day. Being part of that part of their journey is really important.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue healthcare studies?
This year, I am in an emergency medical technician (EMT) class at school. We started using tools in our EMT class [such as splint boards and bandages] and would use those in our PT. I really enjoyed doing that.
What other goals do you have for college?
I’m going to have a job in a PT office, so I can get experience in that field before I start my career. That will be my ultimate deciding factor if PT is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Any job in an office, even as a receptionist; just getting your foot through the door is really important.
What are your plans after college?
I know I am going to pursue [a graduate degree] but I don’t know which school. After college, I want to work at a hospital setting as a physical therapist, and after I want to open up a private practice. I also wanted to get a teaching degree in college, so if I didn’t want to be a physical therapist or if I stopped loving PT, it’s my backup plan to become an elementary school teacher.
What experiences have prepared you for healthcare studies?
All through high school, I’ve been in the health science endorsement. I also have been in HOSA all four years of high school. The past three years I’ve been an officer—this year I’m the vice president. I’ve completed volunteer work with my clinical rotations at the Coppell fire department. I get to work with paramedics and firefighters; any time someone calls 911, I go with the ambulance to people’s houses, and I get to treat them and take them to the hospital. In my sophomore year, I was a volunteer at the Children’s Medical Hospital, and I got to work in the [emergency room]. That’s where I found I love working with kids.