Sumner High School student Hannah Wilson had always wanted to be a veterinarian until the senior discovered one small problem: She didn’t like working with animals.
As one of MultiCare’s Nurse Camp participants, Wilson tested the waters last week at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup and found what she hopes will be her future career.
“I thought that the medical field would be a better fit,” the 17-year-old said.
After having several friends go through MultiCare’s Nurse Camp, Wilson decided she would give it a try, too.
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“I love it,” she said. “It’s everything that I was expecting. I’m getting to experience everything that I’m also going to hopefully experience once I get into nursing school.”
Part of what Wilson and more than 100 other campers experienced last week was the ability to join nurses and other health care providers as they provided care for patients in nearly ever discipline MultiCare offers. Students got to participate in hands-on job shadows, mock codes and surgery on deceased pigs. Students were able to see what being a health care professional is all about, while still being in high school.
Hannah Stuart, another student who participated in Nurse Camp, is currently taking her prerequisites for nursing school at Pierce College.
“It’s been really interesting and fun,” Stuart said. “We’ve seen all of the different disciplines of the medical field, and I even got to see some EMT stuff yesterday in the emergency department. We also got to suture a pig’s foot.”
In the 12 years that Nurse Camp has been around, more than 1,000 high school students have attended the weeklong summer program at various departments at Tacoma General, Mary Bridge, Allenmore and Good Samaritan hospitals.
Not only does the program benefit local high school students, MultiCare has had Nurse Camp alums as employees and as volunteers.
“The students typically start on Monday really quiet and reserved,” said Colleen Collins, volunteer program coordinator. “By the end of the week, they are so motivated and excited to be part of health care.”
Collins says the feedback she hears most from former Nurse Camp students is that they didn’t know there were so many options available to them in health care.
“We love having the students here,” she said. “We embrace all of our community members.”
Currently, MultiCare has 16 Nurse Camp alumni volunteering for the program.