The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 14, 2013

So you think you Want to be a doctor?

Camp introduces tweens to health careers

By Amanda Dyslin
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — Mathew Meixner was dressed like a surgeon from head to toe — from paper cap to booties — as he carefully lowered a staple-remover toward his “patient.”

“I’ve seen a lot of these on knees,” said nursing intern RaeAnn Berhow to Meixner, as he removed a staple and placed it with a clang in a silver receptacle.

Meixner isn’t a doctor; he’s a middle-schooler. And his patient was a piece of purple foam with staples strategically placed to allow him and more than 20 other students a shot at learning exactly what doctors and other medical professionals do for a living.

Kids from various districts — including Mankato, St. Peter, Nicollet and Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton — participated Thursday in the Health Career Day Camp in the lower level commons area of Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. They rotated among a number of sessions that covered injections, physical therapy and proper hand-washing, among other things.

“From our perspective, (the purpose) is to give kids the opportunity to see and touch health care a little bit,” said staffing specialist Jessica Gartner.

The annual camp, which continues today, also includes sessions at Mankato Clinic and South Central College, where students get to explore the simulation lab, among other things.

Open to students going into sixth through eighth grade, the camp allows kids to explore a variety of health care fields. Camp coordinator Amanda Bell’s favorite part, she said, is when students’ faces light up as they learn about an aspect of health care they didn’t know about.

She said the camp targets the middle-school age group to plant a seed of interest in health care a bit early so they keep it in mind as they start to think about career-planning.

Careers in nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, epidemiology, emergency medicine and therapy are being covered this year.

The Health Career Day Camp is sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System, HealthForce Minnesota, Mankato Clinic and South Central Services Cooperative.