High school students from around the Metro Area came together July 23-26 at Saint Paul College for the campus’ seventh annual Scrubs Camp. The four-day camp is open to students entering grades 9-12 who are interested in exploring healthcare careers. The Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) supports Scrubs Camp as one of the partnership’s workforce initiatives. Not only does the camp allow students to learn about growing fields in healthcare, it also gives students a college experience by inviting them onto a college campus and providing access to college professors and facilities.
Scrubs Camp is co-sponsored by HealthForce MN, a Minnesota State Center of Excellence, which focuses on education, healthcare innovation, and adding diversity to the healthcare workforce. Students attending Scrubs Camp receive meals, medical scrubs, and all of the hands-on instruction, programming, and field trips that come with the camp. Participants engage in hands-on sessions and simulations, tour medical facilities, and interact with practitioners and professionals from healthcare fields. Each year there are scholarships available through donations for those needing financial support. CCAP partners contribute annually to student scholarships. The camp recruits students from diverse backgrounds and inspires those from Central Corridor neighborhoods to consider a career in health care.
Students participated in various blocks of healthcare activities each day. Following orientation and a keynote speaker from Monarch Healthcare, students transitioned between sessions throughout the week including Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Anatomy and Physiology, Dementia Care, Your Role in Aging, Healthcare Problem-solving, Super Foods, Long-term Care Careers, Surgical Technologist, OB-GYN, Placebo Effect, Athletic Medicine, Aging Suits, Public Health, Nursing Skills, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Heart Physiology, Nurse Anesthetist, Respiratory Therapy, and Leadership and Teamwork. Students also participated in hands-on outbreak activities and experienced Ridgewater’s simulation bus and Life Link’s “air ambulance” helicopter. These sessions were made possible by local healthcare professionals and organizations including Fairview, Gillette Children’s, Presbyterian Homes, Living Well, Minnesota Department of Health, Health Occupations Students of America, and Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Starting to Shape their Futures
After a full week of hands-on activities and learning, camp participants gathered for the Scrubs Camp closing ceremony following a final field trip to Cerenity Care Center. Students thanked their counselors for their leadership throughout the week.
Family members sat in the audience listening to Saint Paul College President Rassoul Dastmozd, reflect on the last several days at Scrubs Camp. “I want to thank you for being here,” said President Dastmozd. “You came to campus on Monday. It was kind of strange, right? Coming to a campus that you were unfamiliar with and interacting with people you’ve never met.”
President Dastmozd shared that he started his professional education path in a community college 40 years ago. “There’s nothing wrong with a community college - it’s affordable, accessible, there are smaller class sizes, quality teachers, and it provides a transition to whatever you want to be,” commented President Dastmozd. “I hope you had positive experiences throughout these four days. These are opportunities that are very hard to come by. Regardless of whether you want to pursue a healthcare career you’ve been given a unique opportunity to shape your future decisions.”
Continuing to Inspire Youth into Healthcare Professions
The 2018 Saint Paul College Scrubs Camp brought in 95 high school participants from Central, Edina, Nova, Johnson, Tartan, Washington Magnet, and White Bear Lake high schools, to name a few. “We’re very broad geographically in terms of where people are coming from,” noted President Dastmozd. “Students came together from all over the state during these past few days and forged friendships with people from different backgrounds.”
Students were asked if they discovered or confirmed their career choices after the week of camp. Lab technician, nurse anesthetist, respiratory therapist, and OB-GYN were some of the careers students announced to the audience. Other students indicated they had a career in mind coming into camp, but changed their decision after partaking in a camp activity. “At first I was thinking about neurosurgery but now I want to be a helicopter paramedic or regular EMT,” shared one student.
Sharon Blomgren, Scrubs Camp Director at Saint Paul College, offered some closing words “You guys have such an amazing future ahead of you,” said Saint Paul Scrubs Camp Director Sharon Blomgren in her closing remarks. “We’re excited to have had you here this week, and look forward to seeing where you go next.”