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'I want do something like that'

The Dispatch of Eatonville, Washington

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Cari Coles, a Graham-Kapowsin High School senior, has a better picture of her future after being among 109 high school students who spent five days last summer getting a taste of healthcare careers at Multi Care Health System's 12th annual Nurse Camp.

The students visited operating rooms, emergency departments and patient rooms at Multi Care's five hospitals — Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center and Allen more Hospital in Tacoma, Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, and Auburn Medical Center. Among other activities July 20-24, they practiced skills such as suturing and laparoscopic surgery, and learned how to perform blood pressure and neurology checks.

Coles used the experience to help her figure out which career would be right for her.

"I want to be in the medical field but wasn't sure where," she said.

Coles' job shadow in fetal medicine was her favorite part of Nurse Camp and might have foreshadowed her future career.

While following a nurse working with patients who have high-risk pregnancies, "I decided I really want to do something like that," she said.

Nurse Camp, which also aims to increase diversity in healthcare, is free to the students. This year's crop represented 32 western Washington communities.

In addition to spending time in hospitals, Nurse Camp students visit local colleges and universities. Since the program started in 2003, more than 1,000 students have participated.

The goal, said Cara Koch, Nurse Camp program coordinator in the Multi Care Center for Healthy Living, is to "inspire these students to become MultiCare nurses or allied health professionals within the next five to seven years. It is my hope that these students begin to visualize themselves as nurses and become even more motivated to pursue this career path."

The hands-on experience of Nurse Camp this year included:

Examining pig hearts and suturing pig feet Learning how to prepare pediatric patients for tests and procedures.

Getting operating room experience by performing "Skittlectomies," a mock high tech surgery in which they removed candy from a "patient Trying emergency room techniques.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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