NRCC holds first virtual health science camp

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Local high school student Lulu Dembele participated in NRCC’s first-ever virtual health science camp.

New River Community College recently held its first-ever virtual health science camp for local high school students.

More than 40 rising eighth- through twelfth-grade students participated in the camp, held virtually on Zoom in late July. The camp is typically held during the summer on NRCC’s campus in Dublin; this year, however, the NRCC staff worked to bring the camp online under the direction of Career Coach Stephanie Addikis, NRCC adjunct instructor of nursing and Jean Cintron, NRCC Jean Cintron, NRCC adjunct instructor of nursing, and NRCC instructor of administrative support technology and health information management Sharon Edwards.

Camp topics included learning about careers in nursing, nurse anesthetist, hygiene and public health, mental health and self-care, which included a yoga lesson from NRCC instructor Manisha Sharma. Students were also able to explore career overviews from various local professionals including a respiratory therapist, a pharmacist, a medical coder, a medical laboratory technician and occupational and speech rehabilitation therapists.

Carilion Clinic Flight Team member Adam Berger, a flight nurse with Carilion Clinic Life-Guard, shared information about his career as both a paramedic and a registered nurse.

Activities also included suture simulation where students learned to suture wounds with the help of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) faculty and students. Watson Edwards, VCOM Director of Mannequin Simulation and Clinical Procedural Skills, held a session from VCOM’s simulation lab that included a hands-on suturing activity. Each camper received a packet of supplies prior to the camp for the activity, with the materials donated by VCOM.  

The final day of camp wrapped with students hearing from a team of human resources professionals who shared interview advice and job-search tips. Each day, the students met in small groups virtually to put a final presentation together. The camp concluded with students showing off the small-group presentations they had worked on during the week.

“When everything started shutting down back in March, we thought we would have to cancel the camp,” said Addikis. “Fortunately, we were encouraged to think about creating a virtual camp. The thought was daunting at first, but the challenge of figuring out how to bring this to life through virtual means has been so rewarding.I am thrilled with the outcome and really feel like our campers benefitted from the experience.

“I loved getting to know all of the campers through our communication prior to camp and their participation the week of camp,” Addikis said. “I’m also so grateful for all of our community partners and presenters who gave so generously of their time and talent to encourage the next generation of health care workers.”

“Although this virtual summer camp stretched my abilities, I am thankful for this opportunity to bring to life various health science professions for our future health care professionals through presentations, hands-on simulation and research,” said Cintron. “It was a pleasure to meet and guide area high school students in discovery of various health care professions.  I am thankful to the vast number of community professionals who contributed to the success of this virtual camp.”