By ERIKA PRITCHARD
KEARNEY – High school and college students connected with rural health care providers in a diverse setting at the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s first Diversity in Health Care Camp.
The six campers from Lexington, Grand Island and Kearney toured Lexington Regional Health Center in Lexington where they learned about different health care careers and talked with providers and interpreters about diversity in their professions on Monday.
Julie Calahan, UNK Health Science Explorers Coordinator, said it’s important for health care providers to consider a patient’s cultural views, religious preference and how to best communicate with their patients in an increasingly diverse world. That’s why she organized the diversity camp in addition to five other health care camps for high school students this summer.
“We don’t just need to academically prepare our students but prepare them for real world experiences and connect them with experts in diversity in health care,” she said. “The outcomes are much better when we can expose them at the high school and undergraduate level to different ways of thinking.”
During their tour, the students explored the fields of speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, surgery, nursing and medical lab science. In the lab, the students took part in a blood typing activity. In patient rooms, they watched nurses demonstrate activities such as ultrasounds and an IV administration.
With the shortage of health care workers in rural Nebraska, Calahan said the camp was the perfect experience for students to explore health care in-depth at a rural, critical care hospital. And hopefully, the students will one day work in the same setting.