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September 19, 2018

Teens Explore Medical Careers


FULTON, NY – For two days this week, A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fulton opened its doors to give seven students hands-on experience in a variety of health care fields during the hospital’s seventh annual Medical Academy of Science and Health (M.A.S.H.) camp.

While several of the activities were similar to those from previous years, hospital spokesperson Betsy Copps said that several of the hospital staffers developed new activities for the group this year.

“Some of the staff wanted to freshen the program,” Copps said.

Amelia Yousey of Lacona takes a breathing test in the pulmonary lab.

Amelia Yousey of Lacona takes a breathing test in the pulmonary lab.

Citing examples, Copps said that the laboratory portion of the camp this year focused on how lab work could solve a mystery.

“It was kind of a twist on a CSI show, like a murder mystery,” Copps said. “The group started out in the morgue to hear the beginning of the story and there was crime scene tape; things like that. … The students were able to rule out suspects through blood type analysis using the blood typing technology. It was a lot of fun.”

In another new activity, Copps said the campers took part in a “virtual knee replacement” online.

Copps said some of the regular activities that have been favorites among the students were included, as well, such as wheel chair races, a mock “code blue” exercise, a visit to surgery and the chance to X-ray an action figure using the hospital’s digital X-ray technology.

“They were able to see what it is like to shock a person and intubate,” she said. “The students also did CPR hand compressions.”

Copps said that the students were given a chance to meet with the hospital’s volunteer coordinator and also received a book to detail all of the hospital’s different departments.

“There is no way that they could possibly experience everything in the two days,” she said. “They are given the book to show them the wide variety of careers available in health care.”

Copps noted that Lee Memorial was one of the first hospitals to conduct a M.A.S.H. camp.

“It really is great,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of M.A.S.H.-ers go on to explore health care opportunities. The group of New Vision students that just graduated had a former M.A.S.H. camper. As the years go by, it is nice to see that this may have made a difference.”

Copps said that the program gives the students a chance to explore the fields they are interested in, or even unaware of.

“They are able to see what they like and what they might not like at a young age,” she said.

Maria Rice of Sandy Creek is hooked up to a machine that is used to help people clear mucus from their lungs.

Maria Rice of Sandy Creek is hooked up to a machine that is used to help people clear mucus from their lungs.

Nikki King of Fulton, who is going into the eighth grade this fall, said she was impressed with her first experience at M.A.S.H. camp. Her favorite department during the two days, she said, was surgery.

“It was the thing that was most interesting to me,” King said. “It is something I am thinking about going into.”

King said that M.A.S.H. camp sounded interesting but taking part in the camp was better.

“I would recommend it,” she said.

Allison Sheets of New Haven agreed. Sheets will enter the ninth grade this fall at Mexico High School and said this was her second time taking part in M.A.S.H. camp.

“I did it last year at Oswego Hospital,” she said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Sheets said she is considering a career in pediatrics. While pediatrics are not part of the Fulton camp, she said she enjoyed taking part in the various activities.

“I saw a lot of new things this year,” Sheets said. “It was also different from hospital to hospital.”

Deanna Buley of Lacona, who is going into ninth grade in the Sandy Creek school district this fall, said that she is considering a career in veterinary medicine.

“I really want to start in the veterinary field but wanted to know more about what is available (in health care),” Buley said. “I really liked the (operating room) and the lab the most. The lab had experiments and tests. In the O.R., I saw what it was like to work in there.”

After two days at M.A.S.H. camp, Buley said she is still interested in becoming a veterinarian but may also be considering a second option.

“I am considering working in a lab,” she said. “I really enjoyed that.”

Buley said she would tell anyone considering M.A.S.H. camp to try it out.

Deanna Buley from Lacona practices lifting a gurney with an EMT from Menter ambulance during one of several “rotations” the students experienced at M.A.S.H. camp.

Deanna Buley from Lacona practices lifting a gurney with an EMT from Menter ambulance during one of several “rotations” the students experienced at M.A.S.H. camp.

“It is such a good way for you to learn hands-on about these professions instead of just reading about things in a text book,” Buley said.

Also new to the program this year was registered nurse Becki Bettinger, the patient and community educator at Lee Memorial who worked with the teens for the entire program.

“M.A.S.H. camp is a great experience,” Bettinger said. “We bring in eighth and ninth graders who get to learn about the different areas of health care. They see that it is so much more than nursing or medicine. There are so many things they can do.”

Bettinger noted that the staff who took part in the program went “above and beyond” to give the students an interesting experience. At the end of the program, she said that the students were asked to critique the program through evaluations.

“We will take that information and find out what they were happy with and how we can do things better next year,” Bettinger said. “I am looking forward to next year already. It was a lot of fun.”

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