HOSA Special
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Course Intro


  Module One: Introduction to HOSA  
  What Makes HOSA Special?

Written by Dr. Jim Koeninger, Executive Director, National HOSA
HOSA is an effective instructional strategy for helping students achieve the goals of the Health Occupations Education program.
It is the responsibility of every Health Occupations Education teacher to provide students with the opportunity to participate in HOSA, and the responsibility of every student member to see that the goals of the organization are achieved.

In 1976, the founders of HOSA met in Arlington, Texas, to build a foundation which has resulted in a very special student organization. For those not familiar with other career and technical student organizations (CTSOs), it is important to emphasize the mission, beliefs, values and best practices of HOSA.

The mission of HOSA is:

      "To enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development of all health occupations students, therefore, helping the students to meet the needs of the health care community."
Given its mission, HOSA is special because:

  1. HOSA is totally focused on the needs of the health care community. While some organizations may attempt to be "all things to many industries," HOSA is 100% health care oriented. The health care community is well represented on the HOSA, Inc. Board of Directors and provides valuable input at the policy and governance level of the organization. In addition, HOSA is currently establishing a Health Care Advisory Council which will be comprised of health care leaders in each HOSA affiliated state to guarantee that HOSA is meeting the needs of the health care community.
  2. HOSA's mission is especially critical when considering the acute shortage of qualified health care workers. HOSA serves as a pipeline for future healthcare professionals. HOSA is the largest healthcare related organization operating in high schools through Health Occupations Education or Health Sciences programs. HOSA activities are the primary vehicle for secondary-based programs to attract young people to the health care professions.
  3. HOSA is committed to providing health occupations students with opportunities to attain the knowledge, skills, and leadership capacity necessary to satisfy the entry level job requirements and career advancement opportunities of the health care community. HOSA is special because it is integrated into the health occupations classroom rather than being a separate set of activities in which a few students are involved.

  4. HOSA is a student-led organization. It would be difficult for HOSA to achieve its goals if students were not placed in leadership roles (at local, state and national levels) and allowed to develop, practice and refine their leadership skills. To ensure student leadership at the national level, one-third of the membership of HOSA, Inc. Board of Directors is elected student representatives. The HOSA, Inc. Board of Directors has seldom passed any motion that was not endorsed by the student representatives. When national officers speak, HOSA board members listen! Two members of the six member Executive Committee are elected HOSA national officers.
  5. HOSA members are encouraged to take full advantage of the National HOSA Competitive Events Program, a constantly expanding and improving series of health care related competitive events. For 2002, there were 45 competitive events, most offered at two levels: secondary and postsecondary/collegiate. Four events are offered only for students classified under the provision of Public Law 102/119 entitled "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1992." All HOSA competitive events are focused helping students prepare for their roles in the health care community.
  • HOSA competitive events can be totally integrated into the health occupations classrooms as instructional tools.
  • HOSA events are designed to accommodate all learning styles. For example, several events require a skills demonstration as well as a test of knowledge.
  • HOSA recognizes the need for members to apply knowledge and complex reasoning rather than just low-level information. HOSA competitive events are designed to encourage members to use their higher order thinking skills as they problem-solve and apply knowledge in the development of their technical and leadership skills.
  6. HOSA believes that it should be "fun" to participate in a competitive event. While maintaining the high standards demanded in the health care community, HOSA has reduced the stress that has accompanied competitions in the past by:
  • not allowing students to be disqualified from competition.
  • eliminating penalty points rather offering bonus points.
  • accommodating the unique needs of student competitors.
  • training competitive event personnel to respond positively in situations.
  • providing full information to all competitors at orientation sessions.
  7. HOSA conducts its annual conference in different cities to provide students and advisors with opportunities to travel to different locations during their membership in HOSA. The following cities will host upcoming NLCs: Atlanta (2003), Orlando (2004), and Nashville (2005). While some organizations conducting annual conferences in Kansas City, HOSA members rejected the practice of conducting the NLC in the same city more than two consecutive years.

HOSA offers its national delegates an Educational Symposium. While students are not involved in competitions, they may take advantage of the many workshops and tours available at the National Leadership Conference. Delegates -- students and advisors -- may also participate in the Leadership Academy which focuses on chapter management and leadership skills for advisors and members.

  9. HOSA offers a National Recognition Program in cooperation with the National Consortium for Health Science & Technology Education. The HOSA member will create a portfolio of evidence of his/her accomplishments in preparation for a health career. Successful completion of this event will satisfy portfolio components of the Certificate of Achievement for National Health Care (Foundation) Skills Standards.
  10. HOSA's national service project for 2002-04 is participation with the American Cancer Society.
  11. HOSA encourages national health care associations and companies to sponsor NLC competitive events providing financial support, equipment and/or judges. HOSA members are provided unique opportunities to meet and network with potential employers and health care leaders who can give them information critical to their career interests.
  12. HOSA provides its members with opportunities to purchase blazers, pins, and other membership items from the HOSA Supply Service which can be contacted easily at 1-800-950-3553.
  13. HOSA totally supports its eight member National Executive Council (national student officers) to participate in national officer training, attend state association conferences, attend the AVA Convention, and the Annual National Leadership Conference. State associations are willing to split expenses for national officers to attend their conferences.
  14. HOSA provides a comprehensive web site at www.hosa.org. The web site includes:
  • Online affiliation tools
  • Links to state association home pages. State associations may include local chapter links on their web sites.
  • Online publications - HOSA Magazine, NLC Information Packet (State Advisors and Chapters), HOSA HANDBOOK, and all other publications, including updated competitive event guidelines.
  • Links to Advisor staff development
  • Links to all competitive event resources at Amazon.com
  • Links to National Sponsors, Professional Organizations, Exhibitors, NLC Suppliers, Awards Unlimited (HOSA Supply Service), etc.
  • Online daily updates from the HOSA National Leadership Conference.
  • Online archives for publications, minutes (Board and Committees), SAM Conference, etc.
  • Online tools and resources to enhance the integration of HOSA into the HOE classroom including PowerPoint presentations, classroom activities, etc.
  • Online photos of the NLC, SAM, Board meetings, etc.
  • Announcements and News on a continuous basis.
  • Online Career Center
  15. HOSA piloted its national computerized conference management system at the 1995 NLC and annually trains State Advisors to use the system for State Conference Management and National Conference registration.
  16. HOSA is managed by an association management firm under the direction of HOSA, Inc. Board of Directors. Operating under a contractual relationship, HOSA has no extended liabilities for salaries, retirement programs or benefit packages. As a result, HOSA is able to devote its revenue to member services.
  17. HOSA has no outstanding debts or long-term liabilities. Since HOSA occupies space provided by the association management firm, HOSA has no mortgage or rental payments.
  18. HOSA is special because it has experienced 17 consecutive years of membership growth.  
  19. HOSA is offering special services to state associations that require additional support due to declining support from their sponsoring state agency. These services include:
  • Direct chapter affiliation and collection of state and national dues
  • Direct chapter registration for the annual national conference
  • Assistance in conducting officer training workshops
  • Assistance in conducting the annual state conference
  • Permission to duplicate any national developed materials
  • Assistance in conducting in-service training for HOE instructors/HOSA advisors

  20. HOSA's beliefs and values include:
  • Promotion of career opportunities in health care
  • Respect for individuals -- HOSA members and advisors
  • Service to the health care community
  • Strive for excellence in everything done
  21. HOSA will remain strictly focused on serving the needs of the health care community and students who are pursuing careers in the health professions.  
The founders in 1976 sought to build a foundation on which a very special student organization would be built. In 2006, we will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of a very special student organization -- HOSA.

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