For Adams County and its surrounding rural communities, healthcare functions as a backbone, and Scrub’s Camp is just one way to keep the interest in healthcare alive in the youth.
The Scrubs camp, lead by the Center for Rural Health and the Area Health Education (AHEC), was free for any student from the Scranton or Hettinger schools. According to WRHS RN, Community and Wellness Coordinator Patty Ness, the event was funded through both donations and a Center for Rural Health and AHEC grant.
“This program’s purpose is to try to help a couple kids to pursue healthcare careers and encourage them to settle back in rural areas,” said Ness.
Ten different local, health-related experts and professionals helped run the event. Each local professional either gave a presentation or lead hands-on activities involving their respective health field.
The camp hosted a total of 73 students with ages ranging from ninth though eleventh grade. The 73 kids were broken up into small groups so that every student got a chance to engage with each hands-on activity and presentation.
The camp even brought in a SIMS (Simulation in Motion) truck from Bismarck to highlight the ER nurse and paramedic career paths. In the simulation truck, students learned how to perform CPR and use an AED in a realistic environment, which simulated an emergency room.
“There was a life-like model that would actually respond to the kids while they did CPR,” said Ness.
Not every thing was simulation. With supervision, the students were able to practice different techniques on food items. Students practiced their syringe skills by injecting oranges.
Education/Program Coordinator and ND HOSA State Advisor Katie Shahan and medical student Matt Gerving helped students practice surgery on real meat by suturing chicken breasts together.
Veterinarian Dr. Lindy West even brought her dog so the students could learn about animal care with a live model.
“I think exposing students to different professions and hands on activities at Scrubs Camp had a big impact,” said Shahan. “Letting the students have time with a hands-on activity while also letting them talk to a student in med school was really fun.”
Each health professional had their own station to engage the students involved in the camp. According to Ness, it was the health professionals and volunteers that made the event a success.
“We had really great volunteers from both communities,” said Ness.
According to Shahan, HOSA week, along with Scrubs Camp, is just another way to encouraging students to get involved in the health field.
“We have this great health facility and vet clinic in town and we need to do a better job of marketing these health professions to the younger students.”
For the first half of the week, students were encouraged to dress up for different themes, such as dress up for you future career day and dress like a health professional day. The second half of the week was dedicated to educational presentations and hand-on activities.
Specifically, on Thursday, the school and HOSA members gave presentations on the importance of healthy hygiene practices like washing hands and brushing teeth for the kindergarten through sixth grade classes
Friday was dedicated to the seventh through twelfth grade classes learning hands only CPR. Sonja Martin, an EMT with West River Health Services, led an engaging hands-on presentation on what to do if someone’s heart stops beating.
Students from the middle and high school classes had a great time getting out of their seats and practicing compressions on dummies.
Shahan said that HOSA week was well received by the students.
“I think [HOSA week] was something different for the students,” said Shahan, “To be able to do the hands only CPR and the community cardiac readiness presentations was really neat and engaging.”
Shahan said that she was very excited about how much HOSA has grown over the past years. According to Shahan, the HOSA organization statewide has grown from 30 members in 2012 to 672 members today.
Looking forward, Shahan is excited to be doing more community projects in the future with HOSA.
Those who are interested in the HOSA organization can contact Katie Shahan at 701-637-0178 or can email her at Katie@ndahec.org.