West River Health Services hosts Scrubs Camp

By COLE BENZ Record Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Students try out the fire hose. (Courtesy Photo)
Students try out the fire hose. (Courtesy Photo)

What better way to show high school students the intricacies of medical careers than to, well, actually show them?

Thanks to a grant from the Center for Rural Health and the Area Health Education Centers, and the participation of various community sponsors and speakers, West River Health Services hosted Rural Collaborative Opportunities for Occupational Learning (R Cool) Scrubs Camp at the Hettinger Armory.

For the first time since 2010, when the Scrubs Camp was held in Scranton, freshman and sophomores from both Scranton and Hettinger schools gathered to hear about different careers in the healthcare field.

“[Scrubs Camp] hadn’t been done in quite some time, and so we decided this fall to apply for the grant again,” said Patty Ness, Wellness Coordinator with West River Health Services.

The grant was $2,500, and the program is designed to give students exposure to a multitude of healthcare careers, while doing so with a hands-on approach, according to Ness. Another facet to the exposure is hope that it will spark interest in those careers in a rural setting. And by inviting local guest speakers, those students hear from professionals actually working in a rural setting.

Of the freshman and sophomore classes between the two schools, 50 students attended the all-day event. There were 11 different sessions, and the students attended 10 of them.

“It was a variety of healthcare careers from around the area,” Ness said.

The speakers included: Joshua Ranum, MD – Internal Medicine, John Kludt, OD – Optometry, Lindy West, DVM – Veterinarian, Alana Stadheim, R.Ph – Pharmacist, Cherie Huiner, RT, (R) (M) & Ashley Flynn, RT (R) – Registered Imaging Technologists, Tara Bieber, RN – Public Health Nurse, Tom Braaten, MT, (ASCP) Lab Manager and Orby Reyes, MT, (ASCP) I – Blood Bank Supervisor, Alex Thompson, PT, DPT, CSCS and Lynly Hebert, MS, OTR/L – Physical Therapy, Clay Makelky, Paramedic; Brandi Kaitfors, EMT; and Jay Skaarvold, Ambulance Driver –Ambulance, Darin Seamands, Chris Parnow, David Timm, Kent Brackel & Steve Turner – Volunteer Fire Fighters, Mark Nelson, DDS; Carla Schneider and Suzanne Doerr, RDH – Dental Office.

The stations were placed in various rooms around the armory and included a firefighting demonstration, lectures on optometry and a station that allowed students to practice skin stitching on a chicken breast, among other things.

“The armory ended up being a wonderful facility for [Scrubs Camp], it worked out really well,” Ness said. “There was a lot of room, the break up of the different rooms worked out really good.”

The students were placed in eight similar sessions through rotations, with the final two being the student’s choice.

Speakers took the first few minutes of their presentation to talk about what they do, what type of work is involved, and what type of education was required to work in their particular field.

After the introduction, the students were asked to participate.

The long-term hope of the camp is that students will venture into medical professions, and return to their rural roots to practice. But there are some short term benefits this type of exposure can bring too.

Ness said that the exposure can give the students a sense of which direction to take after high school. By knowing the type of work and education the student needs to fulfill, they can make a sound decision on the type of school and the length of time they’ll spend in a class room. It could also dictate what types of electives the students select before graduating high school.

Ness said that the whole day went smooth, and she thought it said a lot about the students of Hettinger and Scranton Schools. She was also very appreciative of the speakers that took time to participate in the event.

“We were incredibly thankful to all the presenters,” Ness said.

Multiple areas sponsors also helped in making the day possible, those included the Center for Rural Health at UND School of Medicine and HealthSciences, North Dakota Area Health Education Centers, West River Health Services, Adams County Development Corporation, Hettinger Chamber of Commerce, City of Hettinger, Hettinger Public School, Scranton Public School, Western ND AHEC, Hettinger HOSA Chapter, Southwestern District Health Unit, West River Veterinary Clinic, Nelson Dental Office, Scranton Fire Department, Hettinger Fire Department, Thrifty White Drug, Dakota Packing Co. Inc., Robertson Metal Recycling.

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