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August 1, 2014 — Jaycie Wells of Dubois already was interested in oncology when she attended a recent summer camp at the University of Wyoming, and her experience there reinforced her career plans.
Wells received hands-on medical training during the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming.
During the camp, 40 high school students from 21 Wyoming communities 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.
“I find oncology very fascinating and I want to help people,” Wells says. “This camp has really opened my mind to so many opportunities I have in the medical field. It has only made me more interested.”
At the UW camp, 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.
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.
Wells says the camp demonstrated that UW offers a quality educational experience in health care.
“This camp was a great experience for me. The counselors were very supportive and took interest in what my goals were,” she says. “I learned a lot about the different branches of the medical field and the commitment it takes to be in health care. I am very thankful I got to attend this amazing camp.”
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.
Dubois student Jaycie Wells received hands-on medical training in a microbiology laboratory during the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming. Students 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. (UW Photo)