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August 1, 2014 — Six students from Lander 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.
Jalynne Brough, Rebecca Cecrle, Lauren Fontaine, Ashley Haratyk, Nic Nerli and Emilee Robins 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 Lander 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.
“I want to become an anesthesiologist, because I learned how much of a role they come to play in surgery and how important their job is in keeping people safe and comfortable when they need help,” Fontaine says. “This camp has influenced my career plans for multiple reasons. But mostly because I learned so much and, while completing activities, was able to truly figure out what I am interested in.”
Cecrle says she attended the UW camp to see if she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps into a career in the health care profession.
“The camp has definitely influenced me to some choices of the medical field and opened my eyes to the different things I could do,” Cecrle says. “I want to work in the medical field because you help people in need and make a difference in their lives.”
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.
Fontaine says the camp demonstrated that UW offers a quality educational experience in health care.
“There are amazing programs, and there are people who know what they are doing, are willing to help give information, advice, and help me stay on track for my career,” she says.
“I loved this camp, it was awesome,” Cecrle adds. “The environment was great. The things we did informed us and we had fun doing it.”
“It was a blast,” she says. “I have met so many amazing people and have learned so much.”
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.
Rebecca Cecrle was among students from Lander who received hands-on medical training during the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming. (UW Photo)