Scrubs Camps open the doors to careers in health sciences

Hands-on learning provides middle schoolers the opportunity to explore the medical field

Sitting outside on the East lawn of the Dakota County Technical College, a group of middle schoolers practice putting splints on one another. Just a few feet away, another group has stethoscopes in their ears measuring blood pressure.

All participants in Scrubs Camp, the students are taking advantage of the opportunity to explore careers in health sciences. Through hands-on experiences, the students spent two days learning about a variety of health-related careers including nursing, emergency medicine, medical assisting, biomedical equipment, animal therapy and more.

“Our goal is to expose students to the fact that there are a lot of opportunities in the healthcare field and make them aware of the many different jobs that exist,” said Linda-Rose Michel, camp facilitator.

For example, students learned about the Certified Medical Assistant program at DCTC. On campus they learned some of the basic terminology and functions of a CMA. Students also heard from people who work in the field.

Students had the opportunity to visit with clinicians at Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital in St. Paul to see people with various credentials in action. In particular, the students spoke with casting technicians, a gait and mobility engineer, and a respiratory therapist. Students even got a chance to put a cast on a fellow student.

“We try to make the camps as interactive as possible,” said Michel.

Through the hands-on learning, Michel said students often discover healthcare areas that are, or are not, of interest. That’s valuable as they go forward and start thinking about their future careers.

This is the second year DCTC has hosted a Scrubs Camp. The campus hosted two sessions.  The first was held June 13 & 14 and the second June 15 &16.

Nearly doubling its attendance, DCTC’s Scrubs Camps drew 70 students, primarily from the South Metro to campus who spent time in classrooms and labs.

As a secondary goal, Michel said they hope those students will remember their experience at DCTC, the careers they explored, and consider the college when thinking about their post-secondary education.

“We want to plant a seed and the campuses tend to really embrace the opportunity to showcase their programs,” said Michel.

DCTC’s Scrubs Camp is a collaborative project between HealthForce Minnesota, the college, Dakota County Public Health, ISD 197, Gillette Children’s Hospital and Fairview Health Services.

Throughout the summer, Scrubs Camps will be held on college campuses throughout the state. Some camps are directed at middle school students, while others focus on high school students. Statewide, Michel said they anticipate over 850 students will attend a Scrubs Camp.