- About Us
Turning students on to the nursing profession
When recent Bonney Lake High School graduate Jessica McGraw arrived at camp this summer, she didn’t receive a rickety bunk bed and start weaving a friendship bracelet. She was issued sterile scrubs, a stethoscope and a hospital badge before setting to work closing up wounds on a kidney.
McGraw was one of more than 100 students from 37 South Sound schools who got a hands-on look at careers in nursing at MultiCare Health System’s annual Nurse Camp. Rather than canoe and sing around a campfire, they swam through the waters of a job that is always looking for new applicants.
During the July 13-16 camp, students soaked in the hospital experience from the perspective of someone looking down at the table. They sutured surgical incisions on pig kidneys. They performed “Skittlectomies,” removing candy from mannequins with surgical tools. They even took time to sort medical supplies for nonprofit Gathering Project, which sends supplies to developing countries like Haiti.
Throughout the program, students shadowed professional nurses and health care providers as they cared for patients in the emergency department, intensive care unit, surgical care areas, inpatient units and allied health areas at Tacoma General, Allenmore and Mary Bridge hospitals.
In addition to simulating medical procedures, students witnessed live surgery and trained in CPR and first aid.
They also presented their best ideas for solving health care problems to a panel of health care agenda-setters, allowing the students the opportunity to sharpen their skills as advocates for the industry. The panel included state Sen. Debbie Regala, state Reps. Jeannie Darneille and Tami Green and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Vice President Mady Murrey.
“Nurse Camp is a thoroughly rewarding program for local students. They have the opportunity to experience nursing and allied health professions in an interactive environment,” said Gloria Ziegler, volunteer with MultiCare and Nurse Camp.
More than 300 students applied for the program, which is in its seventh year of exposing Pierce, south King, Kitsap and Thurston county high school students to the nursing profession.
MultiCare began supporting a week-long free day camp for area students in 2003. The first Nurse Camp graduated 30 students. In 2009, 106 attended and graduated. The number of boys enrolling in the camp has increased through the years, according to camp coordinators.
“The students grow exponentially through these unique experiences,” said Liesl Santkuyl, MultiCare Nurse Camp co-coordinator. “It’s very inspiring to our health professionals to see students that are so motivated and eager to enter a health career. We remember that enthusiasm and desire to make a difference that inspired all of us.”
To be selected, students were required to write an essay about their interest in the nursing or health care profession. Many essays included personal experiences of how the care of a nurse or health care provider had a direct impact on the students and their family.
For information about the Nurse Camp program, visit www.multicare.org/nursecamp.