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Pa. students get hands-on training in health care

June 21, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

MONT ALTO, PA. - For some students, the third annual MedCamp at Penn State Mont Alto helped solidify their career choices.

Other students are more uncertain than ever.

"I came here wanting to be a physical therapist," said Nikki Kauffman, 14, of Waynesboro, Pa. "Now, I'm not sure what I want to do."

Not because she doesn't want a career in health care. She was exposed to so many different medical jobs that it's hard to pick only one.

"These are kids that have expressed interest in some kind of health-care career. We're trying to help them find out which one they want," MedCamp coordinator Renee Borromeo said. "We wanted to come in and show them as many types of careers that are out there."

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The camp was sponsored by Summit Health, The Franklin County Foundation and The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, saving students about 80 percent in fees.

The group of 28 students from Franklin, Fulton, Adams and Cumberland counties took advantage, getting a firsthand look at the various careers and meeting with medical personnel in the area.

During the weeklong day camp, they visited Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital, Waynesboro Hospital and Quincy (Pa.) Retirement Village.

Nikki said her favorite part of the week was the trip to Hershey, where she learned about Life Lion, a critical-care transport service. Lukas Welty, 13, of Waynesboro, liked the same trip, but for a different reason.

"We got to see the human brain," he said.

Lukas was one of the students who got a better grasp of his future plans. He said he first might become a licensed practical nurse, and later a registered nurse.

After a Thursday visit to Quincy, Lukas is convinced that he would like to work in a nursing home.

"This (camp) really helped me narrow down and specialize at what I want to do," he said.

MedCamp wrapped up Friday after 40 hours of instruction, observation and hands-on experience.

On the final day, students became certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), participated in various science experiments with Mont Alto physics professor Mike Doncheski and learned about careers in physical therapy.

Annie Frame, 14, of Waynesboro, paid special attention to the latter session.

"Physical therapy or occupational therapy, I'm not sure which one," Annie said of her career choice. "I just wanted to come here to explore the different careers. Right now, I probably favor physical therapy."

The students will have much more time to decide, as each will be either a freshman or sophomore in high school this fall.

MedCamp simply provided the head start.

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