Students attending high school in rural communities applied to attend a low-cost Rural Health Careers Camp in Rockford, Illinois to learn more about pursuing a health profession. The camp, which ran June 24 through June 27, 2019, is sponsored by the National Center for Rural Health Professions in partnership with Rockford University, Rock Valley College, the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network and the Illinois Area Health Education Centers Network Program.

A group of Wind River students was given the opportunity to attend the program, which is generally for Illinois students.

During the four days they attended camp, the students participated in several activities that gave them insight into many different areas of healthcare.

The students witnessed a mock car accident that involved ambulance, fire and life flight so they could see the different skills and levels of knowledge involved outside of a facility. They toured a facility where they were shown how to start IVs, compounds of medication and even how to manufacture a capsule of medication. Students looked inside of a working heart through virtual reality as if their heads were actually inside! They were also shown how to suture, as seen below, with the banana, and how to intubate a person. The students took a CPR class and left with the certification card included. All of this gave the attendees a bigger variety of what they could do with their drive into healthcare.

The group was taken by Lora Koening FNP-BC, Nurse Practioner for Cougar Community Health Center in Pavillion. This is the second year Wind River has sent students. The camp was focused on rural healthcare with the intention of giving students from rural areas an opportunity to go to Rockford and inspire them to continue in the medical field after high school graduation. Upon competition of their medical degrees, they would come back and serve their rural communities.

This is also an excellent outreach for Native American students. If they chose to attend Rockford, they receive in-state tuition fees instead of out of state, keeping the cost of their education lower.

We would like to thank the school board, staff, and Lora Koening and Cougar Community Health Center for supporting this traveling learning opportunity to inspire our students.