Students get close to the real deal at Nurse Camp

(The Auburn Reporter) The drama unfolds at a high school baseball game. A fan falls 20 feet from the stands reaching for a fly ball.

A group of 10 students in blue scrubs are responsible for aiding the patient until the ambulance arrives.

“Ready, one, two, three,” says Emma Kroll, a Kentwood High School student, guiding the patient’s head while the group rolls him onto his back and prepares to examine him for cuts and broken bones.

The scenario was part of MultiCare Health System’s ninth annual Nurse Camp July 16-20 at Tacoma General Hospital.

The camp started in 2004 due to a shortage of people pursuing a career in the nursing field, Nurse Camp Director Liesl Santkuyl said. The camp began with 30 students the first year and has grown each year since. This year’s event had about 100 students in attendance from various high schools in the area, including Kent and Auburn.

Throughout the course of the week students shadowed hospital workers, listened to speakers and got information about the best schools and classes to attend to pursue their career goals.

“Some kids got to see Cesarean sections, some got to see open heart surgery,” Santkuyl said. “They got to be in a clinical setting and follow the practitioner.”

This year’s week of activities is completely different from previous years, Santkuyl said. The nurses pushed for the week of teaching to become more hands on and to force the students to think critically. At the end of the week, the groups of students went from station to station putting the hands-on skills they learned into action through staged emergency situations, such as the baseball game scenario Kroll participated in.

Kroll said attending the camp and participating in the various opportunities offered has reconfirmed her career goals. She applied to participate in the camp because she is very interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. There are not many opportunities at her school or community that offered real world experience. The camp gave her the opportunity to witness real medical procedures.

“I got to stay in the OR (operating room) and saw part of an open heart surgery,” she said. “It was cool to meet actual patients and see real medical stuff.”

While she is not sure exactly what position she wants to have in the medical field, Kroll said she wants it to be in oncology.

“But the Nurse Camp really helped me solidify that that’s really what I want to do,” she said. “This is an amazing camp, such an amazing experience.”

For fellow Kentwood student Kate Kramer, going to Nurse Camp has changed her original goals. Initially, she wanted to become a physical therapist. But after job shadowing in the emergency room, Kramer said she wants to pursue a career as an emergency room nurse.

“I’ve gotten to see so much,” she said. “It’s not easy as you see in the movies. In reality, it’s actually really difficult.”