MultiCare Nurse Camp gives high schoolers a glimpse into health care


More than 105 high school students got a hands-on look at careers in nursing and health care at the 16th annual MultiCare Nurse Camp last week, July 15–19.

Students tried out medical devices and performed “Skittlectomies” on mannequins. They toured operating rooms, emergency departments and patient rooms at five of MultiCare’s Western Washington hospitals – Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Allenmore Hospital and Auburn Medical Center.

Geoff DalBalcon, 18, will be a senior at Bellarmine Preparatory School in the fall. He came to Nurse Camp because he had a hunch it would be a career that would fulfill his appetite for adventure.

“I want to be an ER nurse because what I want to do is have a career with a lot of action,” DalBalcon said. “I came here to see what it’s all about.”

His favorite part of the week? A job shadow in the post-anesthesia care unit at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital.

“I got to see patients in critical care,” he said. “It was so cool to spend three hours with a nurse and see what her job is like.”

His biggest takeaway? The seemingly endless opportunity for careers in the medical field.

“This came has made me realize there are so many aspects of nursing,” he said. “It’s been amazing.”

MultiCare Nurse Camp, which aims to increase diversity in health care, saw 109 students representing 20 Western Washington cities and towns this year.

Nurse Camp is free to the students and gives an inside look at careers in health care. Students spend time in departments at MultiCare’s hospitals, visit local colleges and universities and participate in hands-on rotations.

MultiCare has long recognized the need to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health care workforce, holding the first Nurse Camp in 2004 with 30 students. In addition to increasing ethnic and racial diversity in health care, recruiting efforts this year gave extra care and consideration to underrepresented students.

“I was very excited to have such a diverse group of high school students, eager to learn about nursing and allied health professions,” said Nancy Thompkins, Nurse Camp program coordinator and community outreach liaison for the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living.

Highlights of MultiCare Nurse Camp:

  • Hands-on station rotation: Skittlectomies, IV starts, intubations, infection control, CPR, crutch training.
  • Job shadowing: Various units/departments at Tacoma General, Mary Bridge, Allenmore, Auburn Medical Center and Good Samaritan hospitals.
  • Operating room experience: Touring the OR, viewing and learning about high-tech surgeries, suturing and sterile technique.
  • Emergency department experience: Stations include cardiac rhythm, airway, backboard/c-spine, forearm fiberglass splinting, wound irrigation/stapling, alcohol awareness (students will wear beer goggles), medic unit (students will tour inside of ambulance), emergency preparedness.

Nurse Camp students shared their experiences throughout the week on social media using the hashtag #nursecamprocks.

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