Flashback Experience

PHS Senior's Academy Experience Is Flashback To Her Own Illness
Posted on 10/31/2019
Madison Taylor and her Academy Experience mentor, Mandy Spears

Madison Taylor’s Academy Experience at a Sandusky pediatrician’s office started with a deja vu moment and a meeting with one of the pediatric nurses that helped save her life nearly five years ago.


The Perkins High School senior has visions of becoming a pediatric nurse someday. Through Perkins High School’s Academy Experience program, which pairs students with community businesses and organizations for real-world work experiences, Madison was teamed with nurse Mandy Spears at Wizzy Wig Clinic on Washington Row. 


During their initial meeting at Wizzy Wig, Ms. Spears, a nurse practitioner, asked Madison why she wanted to be a pediatric nurse, and Madison explained that her career aspirations are directly related to her own experiences in January 2015, when she was stricken with influenza and needed to be hospitalized for several weeks and missed the entire third quarter of that school year. 


When her illness hit, Madison first went to Firelands Regional Medical Center and then was quickly transferred to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.


But, it was the brief stop at Firelands – and Madison’s blond hair – that left a lasting impression with Ms. Spears, who was one of the nurses on duty that day at Firelands.


“I remember her blonde hair – it looks exactly the same to me,” Ms. Spears said. “She said her name and it clicked … I’ll never forget that day. This little girl with blonde hair – and her skin was grey – came in.”


Madison was so impressed and touched by the care her nurses gave her, she says that she feels a calling to nursing.


“I want to help children the way my nurses helped me,” Madison says.


Madison, a seventh-grader at the time, had become dreadfully ill. Her mother, Sandy Taylor, a teacher at Meadowlawn Intermediate School, recalls the situation. Although at the time Mrs. Taylor refused to admit it, she says she knew her young Madison was in a critical state. 


“It was pretty unbelievable,” Mrs. Taylor recalls. She has many photographs of Madison in the hospital and hooked to various medical devices. Among the pictures is one of Madison’s IV tower – with 16 IV bags attached.


“Honestly, I thought she would never want to be in a hospital again,” Mrs. Taylor said.

For her Academy Experience, Madison follows Ms. Spears on house calls and pediatric patient visits. The training has enabled Madison to get a first-hand look at her possible career choice. 


So far, Madison says she likes what she sees. The Academy Experience “gets me out of the classroom and into a field that I want to go into,” Madison said.