Having an idea of what career you want to pursue can influence your plans for college, but it’s often so difficult to be sure of what you want to when you’re in high school. For those considering careers in nursing, MultiCare Health System has a unique offering to help students get a better idea of what the job is all about.
From July 11-15, the health system held its 13th annual Nurse Camp, bringing more than 100 high school students from across the region together for a week of hands-on experience.
As part of Nurse Week, students tried out medical devices and performed mock surgeries (“Skittlectomies,” as they were known) on mannequins. They also toured operating rooms, emergency departments and patient rooms at MultiCare’s five hospitals — Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Allenmore Hospital and Auburn Medical Center. The hands-on rotation gave students a chance to learn about blood sugar, examine pig hearts, prepare pediatric patients for tests and procedures, perform neurological checks and practice with backboards.
Students also got a chance to job shadow in various units, watching surgical and trauma nurses in action. In the operating room, they learned more about surgical technology and got an argon beam coagulator demonstration on grapefruits. Meanwhile, in the emergency room, students learned about splinting, cardiac rhythm, wound management and even alcohol awareness, where students wore beer goggles to experience the dangers of intoxication.
The program got its start in 2003 when MultiCare realized the need to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health work force, and it launched the week-long day camp the following year. Since then, more than 1,000 students have come to the free camp. This year, students came to the camp from 40 different Western Washington cities, including many male students, reflecting a growing trend of men entering the nursing field.