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Calling all future healthcare pros

2:52 pm August 17th, 2012

Nearly a decade’s worth of local high school students have been getting a preview of possible careers as nurses, and the opportunity continued last month.

Three students from Bethel High – Elizabeth Fletcher, Shaquise Moseley and April Berner – and two from Eatonville High, Brandon Jamison and Courtney Linnemeyer, were among 96 students from 36 high schools who were chosen to participate in the ninth-annual MultiCare Nurse Camp July 15-20 at MultiCare’s hospital.

During the five days, students were given an inside look at careers in healthcare. They spent time in departments at all four of MultiCare’s hospitals (Good Samaritan in Puyallup and Tacoma General, Allenmore and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital), participating in rotations and activities such as simulated surgeries. The students also visited six local colleges and universities.

Nurse Camp developed when MultiCare Health System, one of Pierce County’s largest employers, decided to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health workforce. In 2004, the not-for-profit organization began supporting the weeklong, free day camp for students.

As well as increasing ethnic and racial diversity in healthcare, an increasing number of young men are considering careers in nursing. That’;s a trend MultiCare Nurse Camp encourages and supports, officials said.

A recent report by The American Hospital Association stated, “Improving diversity will not only help solve the workforce crisis, but also enhance the cultural competencies of hospitals, making them more responsive to the communities’ needs.”

MultiCare officials said the Nurse Camp class selected this year, as well as in past years, is reflective of the diversity in the surrounding communities.

“These high school students are extremely motivated and interested in health careers,” said Liesl Santkuyl, director of Nurse Camp. “Several of them will be taking care of me and my family members in the not-too-distant future. I’m always amazed at what bright, enthusiastic and motivated students attend. We are lucky to have such talented people in our community.”

Throughout the program, students shadowed professional nurses and healthcare providers as they cared for patients in the emergency rooms, intensive care units, surgical care areas, inpatient units and aother areas at the four hospitals. Last year’s Nurse Camp also had nearly 100 participants. Hundreds of students apply for it annually.

Eatonville High School student Brandon Jamison uses endoscopic surgery tools to perform a “Skittlectomy.” a surgery simulation in which participants in MultiCare’s Nurse Camp remove colorful candy pieces from inside a mannequin. They watch the procedure on a monitor via images from an inserted camera. Jamison was assisted by nurse Theresa Renico.
Patrick Hagerty/courtesy photo

MultiCare has about 9,000 employees. Approximately 350 workers were laid off last year in response to cuts in state funding for Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to its hospitals, MultiCare operates 14 primary and urgent-care clinics in Pierce and King counties, including one in Eatonville. It also has hospice and home health programs.

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