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Local kids attend scrubs camp

By   Erin Wood

Approximately 300 fifth-grade students participated in an innovative health career awareness camp on March 27th. With Northeast Education Services Cooperative as the lead applicant, Devils Lake was selected as the site of a Rural Collaborative Opportunities for Occupational Learning in Health (R-COOL-Health) Scrubs Camp.

Collaborative organizations in this effort include area schools, Mercy Hospital, Altru Clinic-Lake Region, The University of North Dakota Music Department, Lake Area Career and Technical Center, Dakota Nursing Program, and Lake Region State College. 
The R-COOL-Health Scrubs Camps aim to increase awareness, interest, and understanding of health careers available in rural North Dakota through creative and interactive activities.
The Devils Lake Scrubs Camp featured hands-on experiences in several health career tracks including, emergency medicine, nursing, physical therapy, mental health, music therapy, dentistry, and more. Experiences for the students in all aspects of health care will inform the students of the career options available in healthcare, particularly locally. 
“Research has shown that growing your own is an effective way of meeting rural health care workforce needs,” says Lynette Dickson, MS, RD, LRD, program director at the Center for Rural Health. “These camps are great examples of how community organizations can work collaboratively to inspire local youth to pursue a career in health care.”
The current and projected shortage of health care professionals in North Dakota and across the nation is creating a critical demand for an increased health care workforce.  A national shortage of at least 124,000 physicians and 500,000 nurses is projected by 2025.
R-COOL-Health Scrubs Camps are taking place in ten different cities across North Dakota.  This is the fourth year the camps are being funded by the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  Partnering with schools, health care facilities, and economic or job development authorities is a requirement of the project, in order to increase collaboration and awareness of the economic impact of health care in North Dakota.