North Central AHEC and Marshfield Clinic host first annual Health Careers Summer Camp

By Carol Pinkston, North Central AHEC program manager

In June 2013, 18 students from North Central AHEC’s 11-county region visited Marshfield Clinics in Marshfield, Weston and Wausau, Aspirus Hospital, Birge Clinic, UW-Stevens Point, Northcentral Technical College and the Stevens Point Salvation Army over the course of four days for the first annual North Central AHEC/ Marshfield Clinic Health Careers Camp. The students stayed at Neale Hall, a dorm at UW-Stevens Point. Each day gave the students a new experience and a variety of information sessions.

Day One: NCAHEC and Dr. Marty Loy (UW-SP) welcomed campers and parents with orientation following.

Day Two: Students engaged in an EMS accident scene scenario at Northcentral Technical College. Students also observed and practiced injections in the student lab and watched a demonstration using the Medi-Man robot. In the afternoon, campers traveled to Wausau’s Aspirus Hospital, where they toured the Rehabilitation Center. Staff from the Aspirus Pharmacy Center provided a tour and presentation on becoming a Pharmacist and the workings of the Pharmacy in a hospital setting. Later, the students went to the Wausau area’s Federally Qualified Health Center/Community Health Center, Bridge Clinic. They learned that Bridge patients are most often under-served, uninsured, or under-insured and only get to health care at a later stage in their illnesses.

Day Three: The students enjoyed Dr. Aswani presentation about his experiences in Primary Care. Students toured Marshfield Clinic’s morgue and learned about forensic medicine, dissected a cow’s heart, participated in hands-on casting and splinting, toured the outstanding Marshfield Clinic Laboratory, tried their hands at typing blood, learned about the importance of dedication to helping people, and explored the current and projected needs/ shortages for Health Career professionals in Wisconsin.

Day Four: Health Careers professors and students at UW-SP presented their outstanding health careers curriculum to our students. Afterwards, they enjoyed presentations on advanced practice nursing and oncology as a career. Students also toured the DTC (Diagnostic Treatment Center) at Marshfield Clinic-Weston. Students next traveled to the Marshfield Clinic Wausau Center where they learned about the pathway to a career as a physician and practical things that they could do while still in high school to enhance their acceptance into a medical school or into other health careers. This was followed by an interactive presentation by Elizabeth Landretti, Director of Physical Therapy, who had students participate in activities that simulated what it would be like to be physically challenged.

Day Five: Guided by Camp staff, students were engaged in a group discussion about Diversity in Healthcare to help campers understand the importance of empathy and compassion when providing care to patients. Additionally--and a very important part of the camp’s emphasis on community service--the students volunteered at the Salvation Army in Stevens Point. The camp concluded with a slide show of the week’s activities for parents to see, followed by a graduation ceremony. It wasn’t all work for the campers and staff. Evening activities with campers included icebreakers, games, a cookout and bonfire on the UW-SP campus, outdoor games that fostered trust and team building and a pizza party. Counselors and the Camp Director, Christine Salm-Little, talked much about professionalism, real life medical situations, their own health career experiences, medical missions, and other health career and life experiences that will linger in campers’ memories for years to come.