While some kids may be traveling or having fun in the pool this summer, a group of Queen Creek middle school students were able to get their “scrubs on” and take part in some early health care training.
Banner Ironwood Medical Center recently hosted its first Camp Scrubs in the hopes that the six young students will become interested in careers in health care at a time when the industry continues to see a serious nursing shortage.
“We’re giving them a week-long experience in the hospital to learn about health care careers and health care situations,” said Taylor Nelson, Banner Health registered nurse and organizer of Camp Scrubs, in a press release.
Camp Scrubs at Banner Ironwood was fashioned after a similar program at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson. After seeing its impact on young students, Banner Ironwood Chief Nursing Officer Leo Taylor sought Nelson’s help. He spent more than a year bringing the program to fruition at Banner Ironwood.
“One of the goals was to help widen the experience of the students,” Nelson said.
According to the release, Banner Ironwood partnered with J.O. Combs Middle School in San Tan Valley. The hospital selected half a dozen students who have shown interest in entering the health care industry, whether it be in nursing or physical therapy or in non-clinical positions such as security, culinary or even supply chain.
Student Ian Richardson donned red medical scrubs while taking part in the program. He’s getting ready to enter the ninth grade in the fall. After attending Camp Scrubs, he found that the program was not only fulfilling, but also has heavily influenced him to choose nursing as a possible career.
“It’s definitely changed my perspective on health care and what I want to do in health care,” Richardson said. “I mentioned the nursing thing to my mom, and she said, ‘Yea! That’s my kid,’ because she wanted to do nursing too.”
In addition to listening to guest speakers and shadowing medical staff, the students also had a chance to participate in hands-on activities. This included learning the proper way to put on Personal Protective Equipment, participating in an escape room where they learned about patient safety, and learning how to perform -- and becoming certified in -- cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“My goal and hope is that at least it gives them an insight of: Is this something they really want to do or not? And it’s OK if it’s not, but giving them that life experience to grow, it really means a lot to me,” Nelson said.
Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also has an academic division – Banner University Medicine – and a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Banner Ironwood Medical Center is located at 37000 N. Gantzel Road.