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August 1, 2014 — Charleigh Shipley of Douglas felt there was no better way to spend her summer than to find an enjoyable way to search for a future career. She was able to do that by attending the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming.
During the camp, Shipley and Raven Faran of Douglas were among 40 high school students from 21 Wyoming communities who 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 believe that if you find a particular career or profession to be fascinating, why not further pursue it?” asks Shipley, who wants to enter the health care field after high school. “The camp has reinforced my health care career aspirations a great deal. Not only has it opened my eyes to all of the fields of health care study, but it also has given me the opportunity to find what I would at least be fairly decent at.”
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.
Shipley says she really enjoyed the experience at the UW camp.
“What the counselors and Marivern have taught us are things you can't just learn from anywhere,” she says. “I want to send them all the biggest ‘thank you’ I can possibly give, and tell them how much we all appreciate what they have taught us, and the time they had given to each individual.”
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.
Douglas student Charleigh Shipley, left, works with Bailee Smith of Cheyenne 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)