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Spectrum News: Health organizations look to get students interested in health care field

As hospitals across the state, especially in rural areas, continue to battle a physician shortage, no stone has been left unturned in trying to find some sort of solution.

With a certain need in the North Country, Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization hosted a special program designed to get high school students thinking about a career in healthcare.


A few dozen students in grades 8-12 took part in what's known as a "MASH camp." The students got a hands-on experience in the health care field.


What You Need To Know

Since the height of COVID, health care facilities have struggled to find physicians and nursesThe Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization hosted a special event, a 'MASH camp,' for North Country high school students to get hands-on experience in the health care fieldStudents say the camp was eye-opening and helped them not only gain and interest in health care, but to consider it as a career option.

“It’s interesting to see how the hospital runs because it runs so differently than like a business or anything like that that you'd see,” Indian River Central School District student Madelyn Morgan said.


Morgan said a camp like this is something she's wanted to do for some time.

“My dad was in the Army, and he was a medic. And after he retired, he didn't go into anything medical after that, but it's always been an interest I've had. I kind of think I got from him,” said Morgan.


Morgan says she wasn't quite sure what she wanted to do in the field until participating in the camp, but she's now leaning towards the emergency room. That's music to the ears of the River Hospital staff.


“We want these kids to get excited and to come back to our hospital someday, or to Samaritan, or to Carthage, or Claxton, to come back for their community,” River Hospital Healthcare Recruiter Tasha Dwyer said.


The American Medical Association predicts that over the next 10 years, there could be a shortage up to 124,000 physicians. Labor statistics also show a decline of nurses that could reach nearly 200,000.


“The stress levels of it really impacted our health care workers,” said Dwyer. “We’re more on the other side of that now where people are starting to gain that interest again. So right now is the prime time for us to strike."


As an alternative to hospitals, students also met local EMS crews and got an up-close look at LifeNet and its usage of helicopters in emergency situations.

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