New Mexico ‘MASH’ camps inspire future healthcare workers

KOAT brought you the latest news on the shortage of healthcare workers in our state throughout the pandemic. There is a program designed to introduce adolescents to the health sector. This Monday, Capitan High School students traded their notebooks and pencils for scrubs and gloves during their “MASH” camp at Lincoln County Medical Center. Vanessa Thetford is responsible for the operating room. Thetford says, “They can see all the different types of jobs in a hospital, not just doctors and nurses.” It is designed to introduce kids to the healthcare industry and show them different career paths by making them surgeons for the day. Diana Valdez is a surgical technologist. Valdez says, “You can learn to do something you love in healthcare, so we’re opening their eyes a bit.” “The students love it. They get wide-eyed at it all. The students are very comfortable and laugh at the end,” says Thetford. Valdez and Thetford tell me that these camps introduce students to six different departments and dozens of unique jobs from station to station. “It encourages them to say ‘yes, this is what I want to do. I want to be a surgeon. I want to be an anesthesiologist,'” Valdez says. They say students like Leigh Rath find a deeper passion for what she says is her future career at each camp. As our state continues to struggle with a major shortage of healthcare workers, they say the answer lies with the next generation. Thetford says, “We’ve been doing this for five years, and one student from the very first group we trained has graduated from high school and is now going to medical school. someone will give you this opportunity. Do not be afraid. We want you here,” Valdez said. Rath says, “If you’re like me and like to look this stuff in the face and save people’s lives, do it. It’s cool.”

KOAT brought you the latest news on the shortage of healthcare workers in our state throughout the pandemic. There is a program designed to introduce adolescents to the health sector. This Monday, Capitan High School students traded their notebooks and pencils for scrubs and gloves during their “MASH” camp at Lincoln County Medical Center.

Vanessa Thetford is the operating room manager. Thetford says, “They can see all the different types of jobs in a hospital, not just doctors and nurses.”

It is designed to introduce kids to the healthcare industry and show them different career paths by making them surgeons for the day.

Diana Valdez is a surgical technologist. Valdez says, “You can learn to do something you love in healthcare, so we’re opening their eyes a bit.”

“The students love it. They get wide-eyed at it all. The students are very comfortable and laugh at the end,” says Thetford.

Valdez and Thetford tell me that these camps introduce students to six different departments and dozens of unique jobs from station to station.

“It encourages them to say ‘yes, this is what I want to do. I want to be a surgeon. I want to be an anesthesiologist,'” Valdez says.

They say students like Leigh Rath find a deeper passion for what she says is her future career at each camp. As our state continues to struggle with a major shortage of healthcare workers, they say the answer lies with the next generation.

Thetford says: “We’ve been doing this for five years, and one student from the very first group we trained has graduated from high school and is now going to medical school.

“If they can see that you care and want to pursue health care, someone will give you that opportunity. Have no fear. We want you here,” Valdez says.

Rath says, “If you’re like me and like to look this stuff in the face and save lives, do it. That’s cool.”

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