GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Giving high school students first-hand medical exposure is a tradition at many hospitals, but these activities couldn't happen in person for a while due to COVID-19.
The pandemic also led to many staff shortages. That's why one local hospital is eager to offer kids a unique in-person experience.
From learning CPR to pinpointing blood vessels on an ultrasound machine.
Students from seven different local high schools are getting hands-on hospital training at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital's Day of discovery.
"That exposure is really important especially during their high school years so that they know to start thinking about this," said Dr. Armand Dorian, CEO, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.
"It's important work. I think it's the most fulfilling career that I can think of," said Sid Pillai, a junior at La Canada High School.
The 17-year-old thought he knew a lot about healthcare because his parents work in the industry, the hospital's "Day of Discovery" opened his eyes.
"I've learned that there's a lot more variety in the healthcare field than I previously expected," he said.
"I'm trying to see all the different routes to take in healthcare because there's so many different ways you could go," said Hooys Dorian, a sophomore at AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School.
The 15-year-old said getting one-on-one time with those who work in hospitals inspired her not just because of what they do, but why they do it.
"Without healthcare workers we wouldn't be where we are today," Hyoos Dorian said.
"Through its annual "Day of Discovery," USC Verdugo Hills hopes to educate students about the possibilities in healthcare including sports medicine, imaging, information technology and business administration.
"It's not just about being a doctor or a nurse, there's a lot of things that happen in a hospital setting, which are huge opportunities for them in their career growth," Dorian said.
Across the country, hospitals are struggling with staffing shortages that got worse following the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of people decided to leave health care, so we have to encourage and remind people it's such a noble profession to get them excited about coming back and working in a hospital," he said.
As these sophomore and juniors contemplate a life in healthcare, this "Day of Discovery" is also helping them learn a lot about themselves..
"I'm willing to sacrifice my time and my energy for a patient just because of the reward you get just for helping someone," Pillai said.
"Health care is about helping others and that's one of the main things that I believe in," Hooys Dorian said.