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August 1, 2014 — A weeklong experience has reinforced the medical career plans of two students from Ranchester.
Skye Bensel and Dehlaney Schulthess received hands-on medical training during the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming. They joined Jillian Destefano of Sheridan at the camp, where they 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.
Bensel says she already planned a law career because she wanted “to aid people who have been wrongly treated or cheated out of the proper care needed, while having a medical career.” The UW experience, she says, “made me even more interested in certain jobs I had no interest in beforehand. My interests in careers branched out, and so has my understanding of the medical field.”
Schulthess says she plans a career in the health care field, in part, because “I like to think I can help change the world and I like assisting others.” She adds that the AHEC camp definitely influenced her career plans.
“It has helped me realize what skills I have and do not have,” she says. “It also has helped me have a more thought-out plan of what I want to do when I get older.”
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.
Both Ranchester students say the camp demonstrated that UW offers a quality educational experience in health care.
“I have planned on attending this school for many years and, after spending a week here, it has definitely strengthened that possibility,” says Schulthess.” The camp is great. It is so much fun, and you never get bored. I encourage anyone and everyone to attend.”
“Due to the fact I want to be a medical lawyer, and also get a degree in genetics, UW would be perfect for both of those options,” she says.
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.
Ranchester students Skye Bensel, left, and Dehlaney Schulthess, 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)