Wheeling U. Health Care Leadership Camp Gives Kids Hands
Jul 08, 2023
Aug 17, 2023
Photo by Emma Delk Camper Mya Berisford learns how to stuff a wound with help from Wayland Harris, Threat Preparedness Director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency.
While most summer camps offer arts and crafts or sports for kids to try, Wheeling University’s Health Care Leadership camp showed campers how to stuff and care for wounds, perform CPR and more to give them an introduction to different health science careers.
Camp organizer Jill Emery, who is a nursing instructor at Wheeling University, explained that the camp “focuses on hands-on activities” to keep kids engaged while “expanding their knowledge about the opportunities available in healthcare.”
These hands-on activities began immediately at the camp, as kids arrived on Wednesday and got to work filling the wound on a mannequin’s leg with gauze to stifle bleeding.
Campers also participated in CPR training with help from the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, whose employees also gave an introduction to wound care, IV insertion and how to record the heart’s electrical activity using an electrocardiogram.
Kerrigan Moses, a sophomore at Wheeling Park High School, said her favorite part of the camp was “all the hands-on activities,” with her favorite being suturing.
“I had never done stuff like this before the camp,” explained Moses. “I loved the new exposure to everything.”
Moses added that she was now interested in becoming a flight nurse, as campers got a tour of a HealthNet emergency helicopter that touched down on Wheeling University’s campus.
Campers also got to see the inside of an Ohio County Emergency Service ambulance and how to use the splint in the vehicle.
Wheeling University also utilized its resources for the camp, with the highlight for campers being a brand-new 3D anatomy and virtual dissection table. On the tablet’s screen, which is the size of a human body, participants saw an enhanced visualization of the different body parts and body systems.
“The 3D table really helps the campers visualize what exactly is going on in the body,” explained Emery. “Using the table and the mannequins, the kids get a comprehensive look at the anatomy they are working with when helping patients.”
While the camp serves as a fun two-day introduction for students in 8-12 grade to possible careers in the health field, Emery explained that they also hope doing outreach to kids will help expand interest in medical fields that “have a great need” for new employees.
“We don’t graduate enough people, especially in nursing, to meet the needs of our state,” said Emery. “Not just in West Virginia, but across the country, young people need to get interested in the health sciences.”
Tony Campbell, an instructor at the camp and an employee at the Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency, stressed the importance of the camp in teaching kids how to remain level-headed and be able to help when an emergency occurs.
“I think it’s a good idea that if there is an emergency, for instance, during school, they’re going to know what to do,” said Campbell. “It gives them confidence compared to other people who don’t have any experience.”
These are also just good life skills to have because when a car accident or an accident of any kind occurs, they will be prepared and ready to handle it.”
While the camp began in 2022 as a one-day affair, Emery explained that it was able to expand into two days of instruction this year with the help of a $5,000 grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
She hopes the camp will continue to grow in future years to reach more kids in Ohio County.
“We want to introduce kids to the opportunities in these fields before they head to college,” said Emery. “There is a need for employment in every avenue of health care, so hopefully, we can direct them toward health sciences before something else catches their interest.”
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