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Casper Student Plans Career as Pediatric Nurse

August 5, 2015
young woman practicing injection in simulated skin block
Casper student Riley Brush practices administering an injection into a simulated skin in a University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences laboratory. (UW Photo)

Casper high school student, Riley Brush, wanted to learn about nursing, and she got her wish by attending the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at the University of Wyoming.

“My goal is to one day become a pediatric nurse and work at a children’s hospital, and I knew by attending this great camp I’d gain so much knowledge about this profession,” Brush says.

She, along with Casper students Hannah Beran and Emerson Kopp, 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 students were exposed to careers in such fields as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, surgical technology, speech-language pathology, optometry, dental hygiene, radiography and ultrasonography. Activities took place on the UW campus, Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Snowy Range Vision Center and at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. More than 40 local health care workers volunteered their time to teach campers about their chosen professions.

“This camp taught me the traits a nurse should have, the everyday things they'd do and the salary they are paid,” Brush says. “By learning these different things, it made me realize how perfect this career would be for me.”

Students had opportunities to suture (with chicken breasts); make medicated balm; make a cast; perform an ultrasound-guided “biopsy”; give injections (into simulated skins); 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 program 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.

Brush says she was impressed with the educational opportunities in health care offered at UW.

“The education is an amazing price compared to other colleges, and the campus is great,” she says. “And when you're here, it just gives you a great, relaxed feeling. After this week at AHEC, I'm definitely considering going to UW.”

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

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

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