Health camp: Cadaver, high-tech machines greet high school students

2013-11-21T00:00:00Z Health camp: Cadaver, high-tech machines greet high school students Montana Standard

Hard-core recruiting isn’t only for sports.

Recruiting high school kids for the wide-open health care industry, athletic trainers, nurses and assorted staff at St. James Healthcare captured a rapt audience Wednesday.

Strung over eight educational rotating

stations, the REACH Camp allows students to explore various health care jobs over two days in a hospital setting.

“It gets people interested in health care careers,” said Linda McGillen, hospital spokeswoman. “It’s awesome.”

The REACH — Research and Explore Awesome Careers in Healthcare — demos give students real-world, hands-on experience reading X-rays, practicing emergency evacuations and manipulating an expensive, high-tech surgical robot.

It piqued the students’ interests.

“I just kind of like the human body,” said Sydney Jennings, a Butte High junior who participated with teacher Wes Peters’ human anatomy class.

“Ever since I started high school, I’ve been interested in the human body,” echoed junior Hailey Ogolin. She and her Butte High Introduction to Health Care Careers class attended.

Both watched, enraptured by station leader Holly Ferguson’s demonstration of how to use a high-tech machine to keep an injured person’s wound clean and bacteria-free.

In another station, a human cadaver knee was splayed open as part of an anatomy rehabilitation demo as athletic trainer Chris Brown picked apart the procedure.

A few students and onlookers exhibited genuine knee-jerk reactions at seeing the open flesh, but no one fainted.

“I learned that there are four main muscles in the knee,” said Jennings, shrugging matter-of-factly.

Butte Central High School, Jefferson High School in Boulder and Whitehall also sent students to St. James for the camp.

Students learned how a Paraslyde evacuation worked in the event of an elevator shut-down or other emergency when patients must be secured and safely transported.

“The camp is a great way to prep students for the industry,” said Jefferson High anatomy teacher David Ternes. His anatomy class draws more students every year, so word has spread that jobs are plentiful in health care. More high schools offer health-related science classes than ever before.

“Not all my students are interested in the medical fields, but I try to recruit them,” Ternes added. “I brought 10 students. This is our first time here and I’m planning on coming back. This is great.”

Leading many of the stations were Chris Heard’s crew of athletic trainers of Montana Sports Medicine of St. James’ rehab department. The trainers contract with area school districts to provide medical aid during sports events.

College students majoring in radiology technology, surgical technology and nursing at neighbor Montana Tech do their rotations at St. James, so there are built-in mentors for high school visitors.

“Our staff shows the students what a day in the life of a hospital is like,” said Phil Dean, education services manager.

Contact Renata Birkenbuel at or 406-496-5512.

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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