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MedStart Summer Camp Gives Students a Behind the Scenes Look at Medical Careers

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High school senior, Logan Olson from Westby, says he enrolled in MedStart Summer Camp because "I'm extremely interested in nursing and wanted more information".  He wants to be a nurse because he likes people, it pays well, and nurses are in such high demand that finding a job should be easy.

Latassa Thompson is a high school senior from Helena.  Her dream career is to be an epidemiologist, meaning she would research how to prevent and treat outbreaks of infectious diseases around the world.  She wants to do this to save lives.  Both of these students got a head start in their careers this week through a special summer camp.

MedStart is a free, highly competitive, annual summer camp for high school students hoping to enter the medical field.  Kailyn Dorhauer is the interim director for the North Central Area Health Education Center.  She says the camp is especially for students from rural areas, so they can see what opportunities are available and see that in Montana there is a huge shortage of healthcare providers.

For one week students learn about college life and what careers options are out there.  They live in dorms at the University of Great Falls and attend classes at Great Falls College MSU.  Dorhauer says exposure to multiple career fields is beneficial so instead of going to college for one thing, they're able to explore different careers and find what really fits their personality.

Job shadowing is the bulk of the camp where kids get a dose of reality and hands on training.  Dorhauer says, "they see these awesome careers and say I want to become a doctor, well what does it take to become a doctor. That's something that's tangible for them after this camp to know I need to take these science classes and community service projects, so they can make these ideas a reality".

Both Olson and Thompson found the job shadowing the most beneficial and interesting.  Thompson says, "it gives you a behind the scenes look because usually you only see what they do for you, not everything that goes into the care that they give you".  Olson says he didn't know for sure if nursing was the path he'd follow, but after the job shadowing he is sure.

The hope is that these students will discover options that are close to home, and perhaps solve the healthcare provider shortage in the treasure state.  Dorhauer says, "we follow the grow your own strategy so those who are raised in Montana are more likely to stay in Montana".

Students also attended lectures on the application and admissions process as well as financial aide, so they know exactly what their next steps are.

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