Children in the valley are gaining a head start this week landing jobs in health care. The Augusta Health Career Explorers Camp for middle school students kicked off Monday.
In the pre-test for the camp, most of the students were only able to name doctors and nurses as health care workers. After this week, instructors hope not only to educate the kids about the variety of options out there, but also spark their interest in entering these high-demand professions.
Jared McCormick is only a rising ninth-grader at Fort Defiance High School, but he already knows what he wants to do for the rest of his life.
"I want to go to college to become a pulmonologist," said McCormick. A pulmonologist is a doctor that treats patients with chest conditions.
But not all of the 36 campers have such a specific goal in mind.
"They'll do practical skills for both doctors and nurses, but then also for a wide variety of therapists and lab technicians and other people that work at the hospital," said Lisa Schwenk, director of public relations at Augusta Health.
The three-day program teaches students how to do CPR, give injections, take blood pressure and measure glucose levels, along with many other hands-on exercises.
"So they can learn about the different careers and perhaps be interested in one for themselves in the future," said Schwenk.
Even if they don't pursue health care, instructor George Savage says you'll never know when you'll be called on to save a life.
"The more people that can go out there and do this, the better for the public," said Savage, clinical assistant in community wellness at Augusta Health.
Organizers hope this introduction will help students get through the challenging coursework and years of hard work ahead of them.
"We're really happy to have them here. It's important that we do interest them because in a few years, I'll need them to take care of me," said Schwenk.
"It'll keep me inspired to do what I want to do," said McCormick.
The camp this week is free thanks to a grant from the Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association.
They'll end the lesson work with exercises in nutrition and an organ dissection.
Augusta Health Career Explorers Camp Kicks OffMore>>