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MedStart Camp encourages Montana high schoolers to pursue medical careers

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BUTTE - Putting on a splint, clearing airways and immobilizing the head: These are not your typical summer camp activities. But that’s how they do things at Medstart Camp.

“I don’t know, they kind of call me a 'nerd' for coming here,” said 16-year-old Jaycee Thornock of Libby. 

Only a select few nerds throughout Montana can attend this summer camp that gives high school students hands-on training in various aspects of the medical profession.

“We actually select up to 100 students for this program and it’s a very rigorous application process. They have to get recommendations from teachers,” said Natasha Robinson of Western Montana Area Health Education Center.

Western Montana Area Health Education Center held one of these camps at Montana Tech in Butte this week for 16 students from rural schools. It’s designed to generate interest in careers in the medical field.

“Healthcare across Montana state - we have a shortage, so we really are encouraging students at this early age to think about healthcare as a career option,” Robinson said.

Students participated in mock emergency drills with first responders.

“I want to be a volunteer EMT part-time before I go to college and stuff like that, so I think it will be a good perspective,” Thornock said.

The students here are being exposed to a lot of cool stuff, like a mobile simulation lab and working with EMTs. But what students are really looking forward to is working with cadavers.

“I’ve been bragging about it for months, I’ll just say that much.  My brothers kind of think I’m a little bit gross right now because I want to go hang out with dead bodies and cadavers,” said Butte High student Cherise White.

Thornock added, “That stuff is interesting.”

You don’t think you’ll get squeamish?

“Oh, no. No.”

Strong stomachs and strong minds.

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