- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - Josh Schmelzer held up a flexible orange nasal tube in front of a group of purple-scrubbed high-school students at Winona Health.

Schmelzer, an EMT with the Winona Area Ambulance Service, explained that the tube is used on unconscious patients to open an airway. He inserted it up the nose of a dummy as the students watched. While it’s not exactly comfortable, it can help save a life, he said.

Meanwhile, EMT Lucas Neuburg showed another group of students the inside of the ambulance, hooking up a volunteer to a heart-rate monitor. Down the street, students toured the inside of a medical helicopter.

The activities were part of the annual Scrubs Camp, a health-careers event held at Winona Health, Winona State University and other venues each year. The camp has visited Winona Health for the past three years, as part of the weeklong experience of medical careers, from surgery to massage therapy. Ninety-five high-schoolers attended this year’s event.

Cottage Grove senior Jessieka Knazze has wanted to be a doctor since she was 12. For her, Scrubs Camp offered a chance to see just how many ways that occupation can be defined.

“They expose you to so many different careers in medicine,” Knazze said.

Knazze would like to be a cardio-thoracic surgeon, and is already beginning her college career through post-secondary education at the University of Minnesota, but she said it makes sense to learn about other medical professions.

Neuburg, who is studying nursing at WSU, agreed. “There’s such a variety of interests in healthcare. It’s more or less just a ‘try it,’” he told the Winona Daliy News (https://bit.ly/1z5topZ ). “Now’s the time to be searching, checking things out.”

Besides the ambulance and helicopter, activities that day included sessions in physical therapy, systems improvement, imaging and phlebotomy.

In a conference room, phlebotomist Taylor Wiech taught a group of students how to find a vein, emphasizing that each health career is important.

“Eighty percent of a physician’s diagnosis comes from lab results,” he said.

Wiech explained that lab assistants can learn on the job, even if they don’t get a lab-specific degree.

Mai Nyia Vang and Pazong Xiong, both from St. Paul, practiced tying the stretchy blue constricting band around each other’s upper arms and feeling for veins.

Xiong’s were harder to find, and Vang, who wants to be come an anesthesiologist, suggested she dangle her arm a bit.

“Just put it down,” Vang said, dropping her arm at her side.

Vang felt Xiong’s arm gently, around the elbow crease. “It’s kind of showing,” she said. “You can kind of see it now.”


Information from: Winona Daily News, https://www.winonadailynews.com

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