The St. Francis Medical Explorer Post is a great way for young people to learn more about what it takes to have a career in healthcare. This Medical Explorers Post started in 1986, and is one of the oldest continuously operating medical exploring posts in the country. It’s is a fun, non-traditional educational program for students ages 15-20 trying to decide if a health care career might be in their future.
The St. Francis Medical Explorer Post begins activities each year in September with meetings taking place once each month.
Exploring exists to teach important life and career skills to young people from all backgrounds through immersive career experiences and mentorship provided by community and business leaders. By working together, these leaders help to equip young people with character, leadership and life skills that can be used both today and in their future careers.
Exploring serves two different age groups, both coed. While Explorer Clubs serve middle schoolers, aged 10-13, in sixth through eighth grades, Explorer Posts – like the one at St. Francis – serve older youth 14-20 years old. The program model is the same for both age groups – hands-on and interactive character and career activities are facilitated by trained leaders in the sponsoring organization.
Want to learn more? Click here to visit the national website on Exploring: http://www.exploring.org/
"Exploring is a great program that helped me associate the concepts I am learning in high school with practical uses in the real world."
- Frank B., Exploring Youth Participant
Keith Higgins is the Post Advisor for the St. Francis Medical Explorer Post. Keith is a Patient Care Director at St. Francis where he has served for the past three years. He is a seasoned healthcare and nursing leader with more than 37 years of experience. Keith earned his B.S. degree in Nursing from Jacksonville State University and his M.B.A from University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a Certified Nurse Executive with ANCC and is a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.
"We have representatives from several departments that enjoy sharing not only their factual career advice with students, but also their passion and dedication for their chosen profession," Keith said. "Students have the opportunity to interact with these real healthcare professionals who are providing patients with great care every day. We have great interaction during the department tours, with inquisitive questions from students and real-world answers from our expert staff. This type of information is so valuable as students make decisions about health care careers."
February 7, 2017. The 2017 William H. Spurgeon III Award was presented posthumously to the late Rex Milner recognizing his 28 years of service leading the Medical Explorer Post at St. Francis Hospital (SFH). The William H. Spurgeon III Award is the highest National Exploring recognition for individuals and organizations contributing significant leadership to the Exploring program. This was the first time the award was being presented within the Boy Scouts of America Chattahoochee Council which includes 15 counties in Georgia and Alabama, according to Philip Wright, Assistant Scout Executive.
Milner first came to St. Francis as a 17 year-old, starting out as a ward clerk and nursing assistant / orderly in 1975. After completing nursing school at Columbus College, he ventured out but came back to SFH in 1981, serving as a Nursing Supervisor until his untimely death in October of 2015 after a brief battle with cancer.
He started the Medical Explorer Post at SFH in 1986, introducing hundreds of young men and women to healthcare careers during his more than a quarter-century of service. The Post continues meeting to this day under the leadership of Keith Higgins, RN, a nursing supervisor who worked with Milner. Approximately 50-80 young people take part each year.
Milner worked as a RN in the emergency department, ICU and outpatient department. In 1984 he was promoted to nursing supervisor, and he worked both second and third shifts until 1997 when he accepted the position as Director of the Emergency Department. He remained director until 1999 when he returned to his passion, house supervision, the position he enjoyed until his passing.
“Those of us who worked with Rex knew first-hand of his commitment to teaching and helping others,” said Higgins. “He had a great impact on our staff here in addition to impacting young people looking for their place in health care.”
The William H. Spurgeon III Award was developed in 1971 in honor of the man who is regarded as the major leader in the development of special-interest Exploring. Spurgeon, a business executive at the Irvine Company in Southern California, personally organized many special-interest posts in the 1960s. He served for many years as a member of the National Council Executive Board and National Exploring Committee. His pioneering efforts led to the present Exploring program. He devoted much of the late 1960s to promoting Exploring and is particularly remembered as a dynamic speaker for Exploring Impact Plan luncheons across America. Spurgeon passed away in 1970.
About Boy Scouts
The Chattahoochee Council is chartered by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America to provide support to local Scouting programs in 15 counties in Alabama and Georgia. Counties served are Lee, Chambers, and Russell in Alabama, and Webster, Quitman, Stewart, Talbot, Marion, Randolph, Heard, Chattahoochee, Meriwether, Harris, Troup, and Muscogee in Georgia. We provide support for Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing, Exploring, and Learning for Life programs in all 15 counties. More than 5,000 youth are members of these programs, and the programs are utilized by more than 150 local community organizations. www.chattahoochee-bsa.org.