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Local students attend Health Career Camp at Southern Utah University

Spencer Fauver (right) of Castle Dale, along with Annick Gray of Vernal learn how to take a blood pressure on a manikin in the SUU nursing lab, while Betsy Hatfield, SUU nursing instructor, looks on. Nursing was one of many careers that students learned about at the camp."
Ryan Cano (left) from Huntington, along with Hope Torok (middle) of Enterprise, and Kierstin Ford (right) of Green River dissect a sheep heart during the physician workshop at the Health Career Exploration Camp recently held at SUU. Ryan and Kierstin joined 80 other high school students to learn about health care careers during the three-day camp.

The 14th annual Health Career Exploration Camp was recently held at Southern Utah University, and was attended by youth from Green River and Emery High Schools. The high school students who participated in the June 11 - 13 health career camp did so because they are interested in someday pursuing a career in the health care field. They, along with 80 other high school students, explored the health care industry through three-days of hands-on experiences and learning opportunities for all who attended. Students attending from Emery High School included Spencer Fauver and Ryan Cano. Attending from Green River High School was Kierstin Ford.

At the camp, participants were divided into six groups and rotated among 14 different workshops. Some of the workshops featured health career skills where participants learned to suture, take blood pressures, intubate and maintain an airway, provide first-aid, proper patient transfer techniques, how to properly scrub in for surgery, proper wound care techniques and more. In science labs students looked at blood smears through microscopes, conducted chemistry experiments, learned how diseases are spread, made their own teeth impressions, dissected sheep eyes and sheep hearts, and learned about pharmacy by making their own chapstick. Participants also had a human anatomy lesson, when they scrubbed into a mock operating room and had the opportunity to look at, discuss, and feel actual human organs. Careers that were featured at the camp included, Respiratory Therapy, Nursing, Nurse Practitioner, Medical Technologist, Physician, Veterinarian, Dental Hygienist, Forensic Science, EMT, Pharmacist, and Dentist.

Colten Bracken, a current medical student at the Mayo Medical School, was the keynote speaker at the camp. Colten, who grew up in rural Enterprise Utah, stressed to the students that their career goals are all possible if they put forth the work and dedication required to achieve them. Participants at the camp also took part in the SUU Challenge Course where they learned team-work and leadership skills. A dance and dinner at a local park were also highlights of the camp.

Because there is a strong need for health care workers in rural Utah, the goal for this camp is simple. "This camp is specifically designed to give students from rural areas opportunities to learn about health care careers in a hands-on way that is not always available to them. Our hope is that by introducing students to health care from rural areas, they will ultimately choose to pursue a health care career and return to a rural area to work after their education is finished," stated Carrie Torgersen, coordinator of the camp.

After graduating from high school, students interested in health careers have the opportunity enroll in the Center's Rural Health Scholars Program. The Rural Health Scholars Program helps students become successful applicants to medical, dental, pharmacy and other graduate level health professions programs. Student applications are strengthened through a regimen of classes, seminars, community service, job shadowing, research and advisement. Over the past seven years since the program began, SUU has experienced higher than average acceptances in all health disciplines and received national recognition for the Rural Health Scholars. For information about Utah Center for Rural Health programs, contact Dennis Moser or Rita Osborn at 435-865-8520 or visit Sponsorship of the camp is the Utah Center for Rural Health.

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