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Aspirations Soar with Young Minds Discovering the Possibilities of a Health Care Future

By Staff | Apr 2, 2015

On Wednesday, March 25th the Heart of America Medical Center (HAMC), a true friend of the community, hosted the R-COOL Health Scrubs Camp. This Camp is an exciting program supported by the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and focused on rural students in grades 5-12. Camps like this are so important because the need for health care is one of the fastest, if not the fastest growing sectors in this country’s economy. Therefore, the need for health care professionals, especially in rural areas like Pierce County is at a premium. Consequently, the overall purpose of the program is to increase awareness, interest, and understanding of health careers available in rural North Dakota, through creative and interactive activities. “What we want the students to know, is that the need for healthcare workers is great, but you don’t have to be a doctor to work in a hospital or clinic. There are several options available to students,” stated Bill Krivarchka, director, Eastern North Dakota Health Education Center.

For the purposes of this program, rural is defined as any geographic area beyond a 20-mile radius of Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Fargo. It is well known that the partnerships between schools, health care facilities and economic or job development authorities are a necessity in order to increase collaboration and awareness of the economic impact of health care on these rural communities, like Pierce County.

SyAnn Graber, the executive director of the Rugby Job Development Authority (JDA), was one of the speakers for this event. Mrs. Graber informed the students of the many opportunities within the community in the health care profession and touched on what the JDA does for the city of Rugby; which included the Rugby’s JDA’s Mission Statement, which is “to create new wealth for area residents through a proactive economic development program. This development program will promote existing business activities, facilitate business expansions, and recruit businesses that enhance and fit in the community and encourage new ideas and ventures, all of which lead to jobs that provide for an appropriate standard of living.”

HAMC hosted 35 Rugby eighth graders this year. The students who attended were MacKenzie Alefteras, Maria Blessum, Logan DeMontigny, Katherine Filler, Lilli French, Kyler Gingerich, Dylan Grove, Karsyn Hager, McKenzie Harner, Arianna Hoffart, Collin Kraft, Mattie Kuntz, Rylee Kuntz, Brianna Leier, Nathan Livedalen, Brittany Loughman, Kylee Magnuson, Mayson McCabe, Mariah Munyer, Aleah Oksendahl, Kyla Radomski, Landon Rost, Emily Salwey, Candace Schlosser, Amber Schmaltz, Halie Schmaltz,Wyatt Schmaltz, David Schneibel, Jr., Anni Stier, McKenzie Tuenge, Holly Vetsch, Kevin Vetsch, Lexi Vetsch, Jenna Wangler and Riley Zachmeier.

The students were split into four groups and had the opportunity to experience what it would be like to work as a healthcare professional. Each of the four groups toured and participated in hands-on activities presented by the Lab, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Acute Hospital, Radiology, Dietary, Activities, Rugby EMS, HOA Johnson Clinic and Joy Dental Design. The students’ day ended with a visit from a helicopter with NorthStar CriticAir, which landed on the helicopter pad outside the acute hospital entrance.

This important and worthwhile event wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the Scrubs Camp~JDA sponsors:

“The camp is facilitated in part by the R-Cool Health Grant Program through the Center for Rural Health at University of North Dakotas School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The parties recognize the critical shortage of health care workforce in frontier America. It is our goal to educate youth during their impact years while they are forming opinions on career opportunities they may pursue. The one day Scrubs Camp will expose students to the wide variety of career options available in rural HealthCare with a realistic view of the job roles and rewards,” said Rugby High School Counselor Julie Sjol. “I feel it’s important to show our students what’s out there in the world for job opportunities and more importantly what is here in their own hometown. Some of our students will enter the workforce after high school and some students will go off to college and will return back to their roots here in Rugby. Watching the students as they are exploring this new world is very rewarding. Seeing that ‘aha’ moment on their faces is inspiring.”

Dani Schell, Marketing Coordinator for the Heart of America Medical Center shared why they continue to be in the forefront in supporting activities such as these when she stated “This is a great opportunity for our organization to help open students’ eyes to healthcare. Our staff puts a lot of thought and preparation into organizing this camp so students can experience, through hands on activities, what it’s like to work in healthcare, even just for a day.”

It is important that small communities such as ours retain the services of the best and brightest among us, our young adults. It is programs such as this that will allow Rugby, Pierce County and the surrounding areas to not only survive by giving the prospect of expanding opportunities for employment to our graduating high school and college students, but to prosper. We need to not only applaud but support organizations such as Rugby’s JDA, Heart of America Medical Center, and our local schools and its faculty. The economic health of our future depends on all of our continued support.

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