Like many rural areas, Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) and local ambulance crews continue to see a shortage in medical staff and EMT volunteers. Both ambulance staffing and provider shortages were listed as top five unmet needs in the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment. At the same time, community leaders recognize that it is much easier to attract people to work here who are from the area rather than trying to draw people completely unfamiliar with the area.
With that in mind, MRHC piloted a Healthcare Career Camp in partnership with IKM-Manning Community Schools to provide a hands-on, immersive experience to showcase careers in a hospital setting. This full day began with an ambulance station and students rotated through the emergency room, laboratory, surgery, therapy, clinic, recovery center, and other departments.
“We wanted to spark an interest among middle and high school-age students,” shared MRHC Chief Nursing Officer, Michelle Andersen, RN, BSN. “We collaborated with the IKM-Manning guidance counselors to form a mutually beneficial partnership. MRHC purchased mannequins and supplies to make it as hands-on and immersive as possible.”
The feedback from the 24 participants was positive, and other local schools started reaching out to participate. MRHC explored financial partnerships to expand the program and were recently awarded a Community Grant from the University of Iowa College of Public Health and its Business Leadership Network (BLN) in the amount of $3,000.
This grant is meant “to foster collaboration in Iowa’s smaller communities by addressing areas of identified community health or public health need. The intent is also to begin or strengthen partnerships with business and industry and to link with University of Iowa College of Public Health
experts and resources in community and public health issues,” as stated in the program’s Request for Proposals.
MRHC and IKM-Manning plan to offer an additional camp yet this school year and three other camps to school districts within a 30-mile radius within the next 12 months. The financial assistance of the BLN Grant will help cover the cost of supplies, additional training mannequins, and trainers.
Those interested in learning more about participating in a Healthcare Career Camp can contact their school guidance counselors and schools interested in partnering to offer this experience should contact Michelle Andersen at (712) 655-8220.