MultiCare’s Nurse Camp has scored another huge success.
The program, which has grown from 30 students in 2004 to now 106 in 2016, allows high-school students throughout the South Sound a chance to get a hands-on look at the nursing profession.
This year’s Nurse Camp was held last week at various locations around the South Sound, including Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup.
For Sheri Mitchell, Nurse Camp coordinator and community outreach liaison for MultiCare Center for Healthy Living and Health Equity, it was her first year running the program. The program began preparing for Nurse Camp in November and the application process started in January.
Students must be either a sophomore or junior at the time they apply for the program.
“We are looking for students that volunteer in the community and participate in extra curricular activities, clubs and organizations that they may volunteer for or participate in at school as well,” she said.
This year the program netted 300 applications and 110 were accepted; 106 of the 110 took part in Nurse Camp.
The program has become quite competitive, Mitchell said.
For those students who were accepted, it was a week jam-packed full of activities, from practicing stapling procedures on pigs feet, watching surgery, learning to scrub in before surgery and viewing patients in the imaging arena, just to name a few.
In addition to Good Sam, MultiCare hospitals taking part in the week-long event included Tacoma General, Allenmore, Auburn Medical Center and Mary Bridge, and it took a number of volunteers and staff to help with job shadowing.
“I call them my best-friend volunteers,” Mitchell said. “We sent a memo out and leaders decide how many students they can accommodate on a certain day. We are extremely grateful to the staff for letting students follow them and observing what they do on a day-to-day basis.”
On Thursday, students were at MultiCare Good Samaritan for job shadowing.
Puyallup High School junior Brandon Baker spent some time in the imaging area watching procedures.
It was action packed. There was just one patient and all of a sudden, everything changed. I like the fast pace.
Brandon Baker, Puyallup High School junior
Radiologic technologist Willie Powell explained to students exactly what was going on and said his department is very efficient in getting patients from the emergency department to the imaging area and back in record time.
“The techs take ownership of each patient. It is very efficient and when we are busy, we are really rolling,” Powell said.
Baker especially enjoyed the rotation at MultiCare Allenmore in the emergency department.
“It was action packed. There was just one patient and all of a sudden, everything changed. I like the fast pace,” he said, adding that his goal is to become a paramedic critical care nurse.
On Thursday afternoon at Pierce College, Baker and other students learned how to take blood pressure, pulses and temperatures. The day ended with wheelchair races, and Baker said he particularly enjoyed getting to know the other students.
A graduation ceremony took place Friday at Stadium High School in Tacoma, where a college and career fair was set up.
“Five colleges were there to give parents and students information if they decide to go into nursing and/or other allied health professions,” said Mitchell, adding that the U.S. Army and Navy were also on hand to provide information.
The day began with a competitive project where Nurse Camp participants were given symptoms and worked to figure out the condition of the patient and then make a plan for care. Following the competitive project and career fair, the graduation ceremony took place.
The hope is that the students participating in the program will be inspired and motivated to pursue a career in nursing, Mitchell said.
“Our mission during Nurse Camp is for the students to gain some insight and learn from each experience they encountered during the week,” she said.