A Head Start: Jaime Luna

HARLINGEN — Not many people can say they earned on-the-job experience while still in high school.

But Jaime Luna isn’t your ordinary senior.

Luna, 18, attends South Texas Academy for Medical Professions. When he isn’t going to class, he’s a volunteer in the clinical unit at Harlingen Medical Center.

“On a normal day, what I would do is, we’d sign in and we’d go to where we were assigned at the hospital,” Luna said. “A job such as hospitality.

“We’d deliver flowers or a newspaper as a courtesy gift and that would brighten the day of the patient, no matter what,” he said.

“It just shows a sign of respect that we’re honored to have them.”

Luna fits in one of two categories of volunteers at HMC, adults and students.

“Some of the nurses there, they trust us with patients, so we were able to do a lot more than at other times,” Luna said.

For Luna, that was important.

“It goes toward our medical assistant class. We also gain hours for our graduation and we’re awarded a ribbon for volunteer service over 75 hours,” he said.

Luna said not least is the experience he’s gained working with patients, especially since he plans on entering the nursing field.

“It’s a great experience to go interact with patients after learning all we learned in high school,” Luna said.

Luna said he hopes to move on eventually to the University of Texas San Antonio “or somewhere like that to change it up and learn more.”

One thing he won’t be changing is his commitment to nursing.

“I plan on sticking with nursing,” he said. “It’s really been fun to do and it’s been an experience.

“I feel it’s my calling.”