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Campbell County Students Explore Health Care Career Options

August 1, 2014
Two students practicing labwork
Students from Campbell County received hands-on medical training during the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming. DeAnna Jo Nelson, left, and Sydney Carson practice taking throat cultures. (UW Photo)

Three students from Campbell County gained first-hand exposure to opportunities in the health care field during the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming.

Sydney Carson of Rozet and DeAnna Jo Nelson and Kaden Simons of Gillette learned about the requirements necessary to pursue a health care career as well as the numerous job opportunities that will be available throughout Wyoming upon completion of their training.

At the UW camp, the high school students were exposed to careers in such fields as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, surgical technology, forensics, dental hygiene, radiography and ultrasonography. Activities took place on the UW campus, Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital and at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.

“It has influenced my career plans because it showed me what it would be like to attend college and do what you love,” says Nelson. “I really want to work in the health care field because I would know I’ve done something to help people.”

Carson adds that she loves working with people.

“I wanted to participate in this camp because I thought it would help me choose a college major,” she says. “I feel this camp has influenced my career plans.”Kaden Simonson, Gillette, left, works with Lander’s Nic Nerli, in a microbiology laboratory.

Students had opportunities to suture (with chicken breasts); make “medicated” gummy bears; make a cast; perform an ultrasound-guided “biopsy”; and operate a laparoscope, an instrument used to examine abdominal or pelvic organs.

“Wyoming is facing a critical shortage of health care workers. Camp sponsors hope that opportunities like this will motivate students to consider pursuing health care careers,” says Marivern Easton, Wyoming AHEC program director and UW College of Health Sciences WWAMI Medical Education assistant director. “The shortage will worsen as the baby boomer generation ages.”

Each Wyoming county is dealing with shortages in primary care and mental health, and many face shortages of dentists and other health care professionals.

The key, Easton says, is to identify, recruit, train and retain Wyoming residents.

“If we can generate enthusiasm among high school-aged students and support them as they pursue education and training opportunities, we have a much stronger possibility of eventually employing them as health care workers throughout Wyoming,” she adds.

Nelson says the camp demonstrated that UW offers a quality educational experience in health care.

“They have everything to help you learn about what you want to be,” she says. “I liked how the counselors helped you. This whole camp was very fun.” 

The camp is sponsored by the Wyoming AHEC, UW College of Health Sciences, WWAMI (Washington Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Medical Education Program, Wyoming Office of Rural Health, Laramie County Community College, Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships, and Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

For more information about the summer camp, call Easton at (307) 766-6751.


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