MED QUEST 2001 HEALTH CHOICES CAMP

June 30, 2001 12:00 am
MOCK ACCIDENT SCENE: Jessica Armstrong of John Day checks Chris Gray of La Grande as part of a triage exercise for the Med Quest health camp this week. Armstrong was a Med Quest camp member, and Gray was one of about a dozen people who played the role of accident victims. (The Observer/DICK MASON).
MOCK ACCIDENT SCENE: Jessica Armstrong of John Day checks Chris Gray of La Grande as part of a triage exercise for the Med Quest health camp this week. Armstrong was a Med Quest camp member, and Gray was one of about a dozen people who played the role of accident victims. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Crisis and celebration.

Rechelle Aylett of Hermiston and Carlos Gomez of Ontario had a firsthand look at both this week.

Aylett and Gomez were among about 30 high school students who attended the annual Med Quest 2001 Health Choices Camp in La Grande.

On Tuesday, camp students started their day by participating in a triage exercise. Students walked into a room filled with people suffering injuries from a bus accident. Fake blood and groaning patients were everywhere. Students had to identify which patients needed treatment first.

All camp students participated in this exercise. On Wednesday, however, Aylett and Gomez found themselves in select company.

Aylett and Gomez witnessed three births at Grande Ronde Hospital. Aylett saw two babies delivered and Gomez saw one in the hospitals Birthing Center.

It was a life experience which was really overwhelming, Aylett said.

Aylett is considering becoming an obstetrician and said that what she saw reaffirmed her interest in this field.

Gomez was also moved by the birth he saw.

It was nice to be there and see another life created, he said.

Gomez and Aylett also observed physicians at work. The students saw the births only after receiving permission from the expectant mothers.

This was just the second time in the Med Quest

camps approximately nine-year history that a student has seen a birth, said Sandy Ryman, who helps put on the camp. Ryman said that several years ago

a Med Quest camp student from Baker City also saw birth.

Ryman is the executive director of Northeast Oregons Area Health Education Center, which sponsors the camp. Its objective is to prevent a future shortage of rural health-care professionals, Ryman said.

Our (the centers) mission is to attract and retain health care professionals in rural communities, Ryman said.

The five-day camp, based at Eastern Oregon University, is for high school students from throughout Northeast Oregon.

Grande Ronde Hospital is one of several sites in which students observed health professionals.

Students also spent time hearing presentations or observing people working at veterinarian and dental clinics, the offices of private physicians, an assisted living center, a mortuary and many more places. The students attended presentations on subjects like medical terminology, forensics, occupational therapy, mental health, hazardous chemical spills, medical lab services and infection control.

A panel discussion on complimentary medicine was presented. Those on the complimentary medicine panel included John Combe of Imbler, a licensed message therapist. Combes presence was meaningful since he attended the Med Quest camp about seven years ago. He has been a Med Quest camp counselor for several years.

Med Quest Camp Director Kelly Anderes, the centers education coordinator, said that one goal of the camp is to help students learn of the diverse responsibilities health care professionals have.

The camps organizers also want to provide a realistic and balanced look at health care. That will help prevent people from entering it who are not cut out for it.

We think the camp is successful even if students decide not to become a health professional, Ryman said.

She said that it is important for people to be happy in their careers. Ryman also noted that people in a profession they do not enjoy are less likely to stay in it. This is particularly bad in

health care fields because so much is often invested in training

professionals.

The Med Quest camp also includes presentations by a career counselor and college financial aid.

It is important for students to realize that help is available, Anderes said.

Students are selected for the camp based on camp recommendations, grade point average and interest expressed in the health care field.