(WILMINGTON, Del. – August 9, 2023)
While some kids watch hospital shows at home, ChristianaCare’s Camp Scrubs gives interested tweens and teens the chance to glimpse firsthand what it’s like to be a health care professional. Offered through a partnership with Cecil College and ChristianaCare’s Cecil County campus, the weeklong camp ran from July 31 to Aug. 4. It exposed students to career opportunities and also helped them understand the important role of medical care within a community.
“This is the future of our workforce,” said Lisa Fields, manager of Community Engagement at Cecil County campus.
“It’s an opportunity for us to give back to the community and support our youth. This is their chance to look inside the walls and see what it means to be in health care.”
Until the start of Camp Scrubs, Miranda Sheriff had never been inside Union Hospital. She didn’t know anyone there, either.
By the end of the first day, she had made three new friends and held some of the tools used by doctors and nurses who help deliver babies. The next day, she tried out laparoscopic surgical tools on an inanimate object, using her left hand to guide the camera and her right hand to control the pinchers used in minimally invasive surgery.
It was like playing the claw game at an arcade — with one big difference.
“This can help me become a doctor because it makes you more familiar with the equipment that they use,” said Miranda, who attends the Tome School in North East, Maryland.
Part of the community
This year marks the first return of the camp to Union Hospital since 2019. Eight students participated this summer, and Fields said she expects the camp to grow even more next year.
Katie Hunter, program coordinator for Community Engagement at Cecil County campus, said programs like Camp Scrubs help young people find out about potential careers while also shining a light on the love and excellence shown every day by caregivers.
“It helps our community to see that ChristianaCare is more than just a hospital. Our caregivers are part of this small town, and we create these partnerships because we care about our community.”
Watching and learning
For Michael Bilski, Camp Scrubs at Union Hospital really lived up to its name.
He and his fellow campers helped paint inspirational messages on the windows above the High Street walkway. They then took turns delivering lunch trays to patient rooms. After testing their surgical skills with an electric scalpel, they dedicated a community rock garden near the hospital entrance.
“This is why you wear scrubs,” Michael said with a laugh as he pointed at a splotch of paint on his leg.
Being a part of Camp Scrubs gave Brooke Bateman a chance to watch and learn from nurses doing their jobs. Seeing them in action has convinced her that nursing is a viable career path for her, even if it’s not an easy one.
“It’s a really hard job, but I think that’s why I like it, because I like doing hard things,” said Brooke, who attends Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Wilmington.
She hopes the cheerful messages painted on the windows and in the rock garden help caregivers feel valued and appreciated for the work they do.
“It’s a reminder that what you’re doing here is important and that your work matters,” she said.