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Local students learn nursing skills at MultiCare hospitals
Aishah Mohamed appeared pale and somewhat shaken, watching a baby being born at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center last week.
The career-conscious teen did not understand at first that the intense moment was part of the MultiCare Health System’s Nurse Camp.
This was no training film, she recognized, it was the real deal.
“It was scary, it was freaky,” Mohamed said of her experience in one of the center’s dozen birth center suites. “It was a boy … he was so cute.”
Mohamed, a junior-to-be at Kentwood High School, was one of more than 100 high school students from the South Puget Sound area who got a hands-on look at nursing careers during MultiCare’s five-day camp last week.
At Nurse Camp, students tried out medical devices, performed “Skittlectomies” on mannequins, practiced suturing on pig kidneys and followed professional nurses and other health care professionals in various departments at MultiCare’s five area hospitals, including, for the first time, Auburn Medical Center.
Students joined hospital pros and staff to catch a glimpse and participate in job shadow opportunities in emergency, critical care, labor and delivery, physical therapy and other units and departments.
Mohamed, whose mother is a medical assistant, wanted to take her curiosity about nursing a step further. She applied and won a spot in the highly competitive summer camp after a rigorous application process.
She enjoyed the surgical side of nursing and prepping a table for delivery in a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art labor room with the help of her peer, Angela Bernal, a registered nurse who specializes in labor and delivery.
“I knew I wanted to be in the medical center, but I didn’t know what options I had, so I wanted to explore them,” Mohamed said. “I loved it. It was real interesting.”
Bernal and her colleagues welcome the chance to mentor students in the introductory program.
“It’s awesome, it’s great,” Bernal said as she explained hospital procedures and practices to Mohamed. “It’s an opportunity for them to see what it’s actually like before they get into the field.”
RN Ashley Riney was busy showing Rachel Bridges around her wing of the hospital last week. Riney, an Auburn Riverside High School graduate, earned her nursing degree at Washington State University before she landed a job in Auburn.
For Riney, Nurse Camp provides a realistic preview of what the profession is all about.
“I think it’s a great idea. I wished I had known about it when I was in high school,” Riney said. “I love it. … I had a different view of what nursing was before I started a career.”
Riney’s job shadow, Rachel Bridges, soaked it all in.
“I’ve always thought about being a nurse, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try all the fields of nursing,” said Bridges, a junior-to-be at Covington’s Tahoma High School.
Bridges heard about the camp from her 15-year-old brother, Ian, when he was being treated for leukemia at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. Her brother is doing well today, thanks to the good care she got.
“It was very inspiring,” Bridges said of her brother’s situation. “I just want to help people just like the (nurses) were helping my brother.”
Bridges is considering a career in oncology or as a surgical nurse.
Abigail Kornechuk is determined to make medicine her career. The senior-to-be at Auburn Mountainview High School wants to be a doctor. Her mother is a pharmacist, her father a software engineer.
“I want to be a pediatrician, so I figured it would be a good experience to be in the hospital,” Kornechuk said of the camp. “I really like working with kids.”
MultiCare, recognizing the need to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health care workforce, began its first Nurse Camp in 2003, graduating 30 students. The camp has grown in popularity each year, with an increasing number of young men considering nursing careers, too.
More than 250 MultiCare staff members and volunteers, and more than 20 sponsors from the local community supported the 11th annual camp. MultiCare's four other hospitals — Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Allenmore Hospital – also participated in the camp.
PHOTO BELOW: Abigail Kornechuk, of Auburn, right, holds a newborn baby as she talks with registered nurse Liz Howard in the Birth Center at Auburn MultiCare Medical Center last week. Kornechuk was job shadowing Howard at Nurse Camp. courtesy photo, Patrick Hagerty, MultiCare