By Will Edwards
This article was originally published in Issue 13, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (April 14, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
Part two of three in a series about pursuing employment at Lehigh Valley companies
Read part one on Rodale, Inc. here.
It’s hard to miss Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, the never-ending building that looms over the south side of I-78 in Salisbury Township. In fact, its 942 beds make it the second-largest hospital in Pennsylvania, just behind University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian, according to the American Hospital Directory.
Because of its size, LVH-Cedar Crest has become the face of one of the region’s premiere health systems, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), which also operates two other hospitals and community health centers and clinics.
LVHN’s creation was influenced by Air Products founder Leonard Parker Pool, who in 1974 donated $5 million to help build LVH-Cedar Crest. After taking his wife, who was sick with cancer, to New York for treatment, he realized not many people in the Lehigh Valley who needed quality medical attention could afford to go to large, far-off hospitals like he could.
Today, LVHN is the region’s largest employer, providing work for over 13,000 people, and their hospitals are often listed among the nation’s best.
What Type of Work Will I Do?
Unsurprisingly, most of LVHN’s staff is made up of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and registered nurses. Job roles within these positions can vary widely, as the health system provides care in dozens of clinical specialties (95 at LVH-Cedar Crest alone), including in areas like cardiology, men’s and women’s health, rheumatology, cancer and burns.
“Sometimes I deal with people who have weakened immune systems, like cancer or transplant patients, or people who are sick who have traveled recently,” says Tim Haines, a 2014 DeSales physician assistant program graduate specializing in infectious disease at LVH-Cedar Crest. “I’ll go talk to the patient about their history and perform a physical exam, then kind of decide a game plan for them and what tests and medicines they need.”
Like any other health system, LVHN also employs accountants; marketing and communication specialists; and information technology, managerial and administrative staffs.
According to Haines, no amount of schooling can fully prepare a student looking to work in healthcare. He recommends that students try to gain experience at LVHN through internships or clinical rotations.
Elizabeth Peters, a junior nursing major who currently works part-time on LVHN’s labor and delivery floor, says this couldn’t ring more true. She believes her experience there will undoubtedly help her when looking for employment at LVHN after graduation.
“For nursing, it would be impossible to get the right education if we didn’t have clinicals. Our clinicals allow us to implement what we learn in the classroom to our patients,” she says. “LVHN is a teaching and research hospital, so in most situations they are really trying to help the students learn. Following an RN allows the students to get an idea what it will be like when we enter the workforce.”
Haines is living proof of that sentiment. He says when it came time for him to apply for a full-time position, the doctors he worked with during his rotations were able to recommend him to LVHN’s hiring staff. Haines also talked about the role of DeSales’ reputation at the health system, which has long been a partner with the university for students working clinical rotations. “They’re very familiar with
DeSales, so you definitely have an advantage in the hiring process,” he says. “There are definitely a lot of [DeSales graduates] working there…There are five total PA’s in my department, and four of them are from DeSales.”
For a list of employment and internship opportunities at Lehigh Valley Health Network, visit lvhn.org/careers.