Middle School Students explore health careers at county hospitals through Rural Health Program and FC BOCES

This post is sponsored by Fremont County BOCES

(Fremont County, Wyo.) — Middle school students from county high schools donned medical scrub tops and visited the hospitals in Riverton and Lander in April. The students were participants in the REACH (Research and Explore Awesome Careers in Healthcare) program to receive hands-on experience and learn about healthcare career options.

Fremont County BOCES sponsored the activity through a grant from the Wyoming Department of Health’s Rural and Frontier Health Division.

The REACH Program increases awareness, interest and understanding of health careers available in rural Wyoming to middle school students. From Riverton, Shoshoni, Wyoming Indian, Lander, Wind River and Dubois, the students were divided into groups and toured the hospitals, one group in Lander and the other in Riverton. While at the hospitals, the students participated in hands-on experiences from hospital staff members in nearly two dozen activities.

Students learned proper hand washing techniques, how to clean and dress a wound, the lastest CPR procedures, electronic records and much more. Students visited the various hospital departments from accounting to information technology to the pharmacy and laboratory, from radiology, respiratory, physical therapy and everything in between. The students were also able to inspect a medical helicopter now serving the two hospitals from Classic Lifeguard, which made a special trip to each hospital for the event.

The program is organized for middle school students so they can take the necessary classes in high school to they can be on a path to a health career. During the tours, students expressed additional interest in some of what they saw.

“This is the a new program we initiated this year Wyoming,” said Michelle Hoffman of Cheyenne, director of the Office of Rural Health, in the Rural and Frontier Health Division of the Wyoming Department of Health. “We’re focusing on middle school students now so they may begin taking the necessary classes in high school to put themselves on an appropriate path for a career that interests them.”

“We sincerely appreciate the support of the administration and staff at the Riverton and Lander hospitals for not only taking time out of their schedules, but to plan a very interesting day for the students,” said Kristen Benson, Career and Technical Director for FC BOCES.

The program is especially important due to the shortage of healthcare workers in the state.

Benson suggested students could look at the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) curriculum that FC BOCES provides in the local high schools “as a good start to learn even more about healthcare options and needs” as they plan their future careers.