Erika Reinhardt, of Kent, middle, practices her laparoscopic surgery skills July, 17 during MultiCare’s annual Nurse Camp at Tacoma General Hospital. COURTESY PHOTO, Patrick Hagerty

Erika Reinhardt, of Kent, middle, practices her laparoscopic surgery skills July, 17 during MultiCare’s annual Nurse Camp at Tacoma General Hospital. COURTESY PHOTO, Patrick Hagerty

MultiCare Nurse Camp gives high schoolers a glimpse into health care

Students try out medical devices, perform ‘Skittlectomies’ on mannequins, toured operating rooms

  • Friday, July 26, 2019 12:14pm
  • News

More than 105 high school students got a hands-on look at careers in nursing and health care at the 16th annual MultiCare Nurse Camp last week, July 15-19.

Students tried out medical devices and performed “Skittlectomies” on mannequins. They toured operating rooms, emergency departments and patient rooms at five of MultiCare’s Western Washington hospitals — Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Allenmore Hospital and Auburn Medical Center.

Erika Reinhardt graduated from Kentridge High School in June. In September, she will begin classes at the University of Washington on the pre-med track.

Despite the countless career paths available in the medical field, Reinhardt knows what her goal is.

“My dream is to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner,” she said.

A passion for medicine brought Reinhardt to Nurse Camp – a passion that began with her own personal experiences.

“I went through my own (medical) stuff in the past,” she explained. “The experience made me realize that I want to be able to help other people in need.”

What does she like most about Nurse Camp? The chance to learn with real medical equipment.

“The hands-on opportunities have been my favorite part of the week,” she said. “It’s unique to get to see and learn right here in a hospital.”

MultiCare Nurse Camp, which aims to increase diversity in health care, saw 109 students representing 20 Western Washington cities and towns this year.

Nurse Camp is free to the students and gives an inside look at careers in health care. Students spend time in departments at MultiCare’s hospitals, visit local colleges and universities and participate in hands-on rotations.

MultiCare has long recognized the need to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health care workforce, holding the first Nurse Camp in 2004 with 30 students. In addition to increasing ethnic and racial diversity in health care, recruiting efforts this year gave extra care and consideration to underrepresented students.

“I was very excited to have such a diverse group of high school students, eager to learn about nursing and allied health professions,” said Nancy Thompkins, Nurse Camp program coordinator and community outreach liaison for the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living.

Highlights of MultiCare Nurse Camp:

• Hands-on station rotation: Skittlectomies, IV starts, intubations, infection control, CPR, crutch training.

• Job shadowing: Various units/departments at Tacoma General, Mary Bridge, Allenmore, Auburn Medical Center and Good Samaritan hospitals.

• Operating room experience: Touring the OR, viewing and learning about high-tech surgeries, suturing and sterile technique.

• Emergency department experience: Stations include cardiac rhythm, airway, backboard/c-spine, forearm fiberglass splinting, wound irrigation/stapling, alcohol awareness (students will wear beer goggles), medic unit (students will tour inside of ambulance), emergency preparedness.

Nurse Camp students shared their experiences throughout the week on social media using the hashtag #nursecamprocks.


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