Building Healthier Communities Throughout Iowa

career camp

*Adapted from article by Richard C. Lewis with the University of Iowa.

It was a grisly scene. A 24-year-old male riding without a helmet had crashed his bicycle into a parked car. The man lay unconscious on the pavement, his right leg splayed at an unnatural angle. And his rescue hinged on a group of untrained adolescents. students in the ambulance station of the health care career camp

Although they were participating in a simulation, the students took their responsibilities seriously. Each sprang into action to attend the wounded individual—a life-sized mannequin—guided by professional EMT personnel. Tatum, an eighth grader who goes to school in Manning,  gently took the head and held it steady while a fellow eighth grade student, Audrey, cut the pants from the man’s wounded leg and applied a vacuum sling to immobilize the limb. They and three others then lifted the patient in unison onto a stretcher and securely loaded him into the ambulance.

The rescue scene was one of several scenarios staged at the Health Care Career Camp this fall in Manning, where middle and high school students from school districts in Manning and Coon Rapids learned about potential careers in the medical and health care fields. The students rotated among several stations, learning what happens on the front lines of the 17-bed critical-access hospital, which serves patients in Carroll and three surrounding counties in west-central Iowa. It was the fourth time MRHC had hosted the camp.

ER station at healthcare career camp
At the emergency room station, the students intubated a mannequin, their eyes wide as they watched on an overhead screen their progress in guiding a breathing tube into a trachea. At the laboratory stop, they practiced drawing blood; at the surgical and anesthesia center, they took turns stitching a wound and using a bone saw; in radiology, they looked awestruck at X-rays of children with broken arm and leg bones and a little boy who had swallowed a quarter; at the physical therapy unit, they learned balance techniques and how to use electric stimulation to help patients regain muscle function, among other activities. student learning to saw through cast

“What makes a difference is the dedication of the people who work here; they show the next generation all the great employment choices that exist here,” says Michelle Andersen, chief nursing officer at MRHC who conceived the idea for the career camp.

The whirlwind tour made an impression on Audrey, who attends school at IKM-Manning, and says she wasn’t sure what to expect—other than getting out of school for the day.

“It has changed the way I thought health care would be,” she says, adding the tour presented a far different picture of a hospital setting than television shows like Grey’s Anatomy. “It’s not always that people are stressed out. There are personal connections with patients, personal connections with your co-workers. It’s more of a people-based job.”

Summer, a sophomore at Coon Rapids High School, was in the same group as Audrey. She says she’s been interested in health and medicine since she was a child when she regularly accompanied her grandfather to the hospital for his cancer treatment appointments.

“I just like the idea of helping people and trying to make people feel better,” Summer says.

The tour not only solidified Summer’s interest in health care and medicine, it seemed to crystallize her desire to become a nurse anesthetist—and, hopefully, to work at a smaller hospital, such as MRHC.

“I would like to keep it close to home,” she says, “because I’m planning on having a family. I grew up around here, and I’d like my kids to also grow up around here.”

The Health Care Career Camp, organized by staff at MRHC, was funded in part by the Business Leadership Network, an initiative from the University of Iowa College of Public Health to promote and empower health and wellness in communities throughout Iowa.

Since launching in 2011, the BLN has coordinated 44 health and wellness efforts in 38 small to mid-sized communities in Iowa. With funding from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation for the past eight years, the BLN teams up with local businesses and civic and nonprofit agencies. The focus varies, depending on each community’s need. The BLN has spearheaded community public health initiatives that address a broad range of needs with particular emphasis on issues of concern in rural areas, including aging, agricultural health and safety, cyberbullying, immunizations, nutrition and physical activity, substance use, and mental health, among many others.

The goal, explains Edith Parker, dean of the College of Public Health, is to match the college’s resources and expertise with each community’s identified priority. “In public health, it’s critical to listen to local voices and engage communities in health solutions,” Parker says. “When we meet communities where they are and bring resources to support local priorities, there’s a much better chance of improving health outcomes.”

*Click here to read the full article.

MRHC Healthcare Career Camp to Expand

healthcare career camp

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.

MRHC Hosts Healthcare Career Camp for IKM-Manning Students

healthcare career camp

Manning Regional Healthcare Center hosted 24 IKM-Manning middle and high school students for a Healthcare Career Camp on Thursday, September 29th to introduce students to healthcare careers, tour the facility, and participate in simulations and hands-on activities.

“Recruitment to the healthcare field continues to be a challenge, so we wanted to spark an interest in students starting with middle school 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 as possible. We plan to offer the event to students at IKM-Manning two to three times per year in the fall and spring months.”

Students stopped at seven stations throughout the hospital to learn more about the different roles of healthcare, the variety of healthcare fields, and learn useful skills to utilize after leaving.

The stations included:

MRHC staff set up a scenario in which an ambulance was called to the scene of a grain bin fall or ATV rollover. EMTs shared first aid measures that would be conducted at the scene of the accident: how to apply pressure to wounds (stop the bleed), support for the limbs, and how to limit exposure. Responders talked about their role and how they would assist with transfer to a medical facility. The groups toured the ambulance and learned about the ambulance crew’s duties.

Emergency Room
A doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and respiratory therapist followed a Trauma Nursing Process (TNP) with a manikin. Students learned a variety of things that would happen in emergency situations including IV or IO access, medication from the pyxis, confidentiality and HIPPA and regulations, intubation using a pig’s lung, CPR/LUCAS device, and more.

Laboratory and Radiology
Students toured both departments and were able to draw blood through an IV manikin and viewed samples under the microscope in the lab. In the radiology department they took x-rays of a pig’s leg while wearing lead aprons and learned about CT scan and MRI capabilities.

This station featured the job responsibilities performed by a surgeon, anesthesia, and surgery techs. Students had hands-on experiences working in a sterile environment, donning/doffing surgical garb, suturing a pig’s skin, and dissecting a pig heart.

Recovery Center
Students met with the Recovery Center staff to learn about the substance abuse program and the services offered at MRHC.

Family Practice Clinic, Specialty Clinic, Infection Control, and Therapy Department
In this session, students learned about the follow-up process with providers after an injury. Students were able to see the teamwork and integration that happens between multiple departments within the hospital. The tour started in the Family Practice Clinic where students learned about proper handwashing techniques, practiced giving a flu shot on oranges, and listened to a patient’s breathing.

Clinic staff shared information about medication management and each of their roles, as well as the career paths taken to get to those positions. The students toured the Specialty Clinic where they were able to cut a cast and remove staples. The experience wrapped up with a tour of the therapy department where many follow-up services, provided by physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, occur.

First Aid
Students filled a first aid kit and learned how each item should be used. The groups then discussed their perspectives of the camp and had a chance to ask any follow-up questions regarding the schooling necessary for healthcare careers they were interested in.

When asked what their favorite part of the camp was, students shared, “I liked to go in the x-ray & surgery room.” “My favorite part was being able to see the different departments. I loved being able to see different jobs and do hands-on activities.”  “My favorite part was holding the pig heart and leg. Also seeing the little pig lungs inflate.”  “The EMS & ER part was my favorite.” “I liked going to the clinic and when I got to do an IV on a manikin arm.” “I liked learning about all the different jobs that make up a clinic and that there are SO many possibilities in healthcare. I like that we got to wear scrubs and a stethoscope.” “I loved everything that we did. It was very fun, especially if you want to be in the medical field.”

When asked if they would recommend this experience to other classmates, students shared that they definitely would. “It’s a great opportunity for people to learn about the healthcare field.” “It’s just a good place and might be a job opportunity.” “There were SO many things to learn.”

IKM-Manning High School Guidance Counselor, Amy Bemus echoed the students’ responses about the effectiveness of the event. “The students had nothing but positive things to say about their experiences at the Healthcare Career Camp! They loved all the hands-on activities and felt like they really got to see a variety of careers that are available in the healthcare industry. This was an absolutely wonderful opportunity for the students, and I am so pleased that everyone was able to work together to provide that for them! We look forward to continuing this partnership with the hospital!”

“We have already had other school districts reach out with an interest in conducting a camp for their students as well,” shared Julie Hodne, event coordinator. “So, this has evidently sparked interest both in the community and beyond.”