Nurse Camp gives high schoolers a glimpse into the medical field

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More than 100 high school students got a hands-on look at careers in nursing at the 14th annual MultiCare Nurse Camp last week, July 17–21.

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

Krystalle Garcia, 17, will be a senior at Lincoln High School in the fall. She’s unsure about her future career but attended Nurse Camp to help her narrow it down.

No one in her family is in the medical field, so she figured, “Why not be the first one?”

Garcia followed a medical-surgical nurse for a job shadow at Nurse Camp.

“It was interesting that it’s a really social job, you have to get to know people,” she said. “I like the social aspect. It’s not just knowing facts and medicine.”

She also really enjoyed the speeches from nurses and former nurses and what inspired them to go into nursing.

“For those who are unsure about what career to go into, it’s a really good experience,” Garcia said.

MultiCare Nurse Camp, which aims to increase diversity in health care, saw 105 students representing 25 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.

In 2003, MultiCare realized the need to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health work force and started the weeklong day camp the following year. In addition to increasing ethnic and racial diversity in health care, a growing number of young men are pursuing careers in nursing, a trend MultiCare Nurse Camp encourages and supports.

“I was very excited to have such a diverse group of high school students, eager to learn about nursing and allied health professions,” said Sheri Mitchell, Nurse Camp program coordinator and community outreach liaison for the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living and Health Equity. “It is our hope by the end of the camp that the students will be inspired and motivated to pursue a career in the medical field.”

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, learning about high tech surgeries 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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