CAMP TODAY, CAREER IN MEDICINE TOMORROW

Kaitlin Ringus apparently is all smiles when she goes to her doctor appointments. So much so, that she wants to make it a career.

“Whenever I go to the doctor, I want to do it because they treat me so nice,” the Fife High School junior said last week during MultiCare Health System’s annual Nurse Camp to introduce high school students to medical careers.

She attended the camp with eyes on becoming an Intensive Care nurse or pediatrician.

She was not alone. Not only did her fellow classmates Alan Cardenas, Tonya Than, Christian Borja and Madison Nevin join her from Fife High School, more than 100 high school students from King and Pierce County earned spots in the 10th-annual MultiCare Nurse Camp that includes hands-on lessons in modern medical equipment as well as job shadows and tours of medical facilities. The goal of the camp is to increase diversity in health care careers as well as provide a way to fill the ranks of the chronically short-handed nurse and technical positions. In 10 years, more than 800 students have attended MultiCare’s Nurse Camp.

The students this year represented 31 Western Washington cities and towns. The four-day camp gave high-schoolers inside looks at careers in health care, that range from all departments of MultiCare’s hospitals, as well as provided visits to Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College and Pierce College to see their medical training programs.

“I’m very pleased to have a diverse group of high school students who are interested in nursing join the MultiCare family for a week,” said Nurse Camp Director Jamilia Sherls, MPH, BSN, RN. “Nurse Camp allows students to explore nursing and other health careers through hands-on activities, job shadowing and discussions with health professionals, visits to local nursing schools, and much more. They also receive a stethoscope and medical scissors to use during assessment activities.

“From these experiences, it is my hope that Nurse Camp students begin to visualize themselves as future nurses and become even more motivated to pursue this career path. It would be great if these students returned to MultiCare one day as a nurse or another health professional.”

 They certainly got a look at the various career fields medicine has to offer. Activities included everything from classes on nutrition and exercise as well as lessons on suturing a pig’s foot with the proper stitch and tours of everything from the linen and food service departments and walk through tours of operating and emergency rooms.

All of the sights along the tour were just another day at work for Registered Nurse Mary Walls. She has been a nurse for 30 years, which included stints in the Air Force, a psychiatric ward, surgical rooms and orthopedic centers.

“You can do a lot of things as a nurse,” she said while taking a break between groups of students learning about surgical tools.

Students learned how to form fiberglass splints for broken bones, how to sterilized medical equipment and how to remove candies using medical tools during the camp’s famous “Skittlectomies.” Another favorite activity during Nurse Camp is the alcohol awareness training that includes students wearing “beer goggles” that simulate the affects of alcohol on vision, response time and coordination.

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