More than 100 high school students got a hands-on look at careers in nursing at the 13th annual MultiCare Nurse Camp last week, July 11–15.

Students tried out medical devices and performed “Skittlectomies” on mannequins. They toured operating rooms, emergency departments and patient rooms at MultiCare’s five hospitals — Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Allenmore Hospital and Auburn Medical Center.

When I Grow Up

While growing up, Gig Harbor High School junior Abigail Adams was captivated by her Nana's colorful stories of being a surgical nurse. She decided to attend Nurse Camp because the stories inspired her and made nursing sound fun.

For her job shadow, Adams watched a C-section.

"I didn't feel queasy at all during the procedure,” she said. “It was a baby boy and I got to listen to his heartbeat with a stethoscope."

That experience was the highlight of her time at Nurse Camp.

"I know I want to be a nurse. I'm entirely sure," she said.

MultiCare Nurse Camp, which aims to increase diversity in health care, saw 105 students representing 40 Western Washington cities and towns this year.


Nurse Camp is free to the students and gives an inside look at careers in healthcare. Students spend time in departments at MultiCare’s hospitals, visit local colleges and universities and participate in hands-on rotations.

In 2003, MultiCare realized the need to encourage a more diverse and well-prepared health work force and started the weeklong day camp the following year. In addition to increasing ethnic and racial diversity in healthcare, a growing number of young men are pursuing careers in nursing, a trend MultiCare Nurse Camp encourages and supports.

In 13 years, more than 1,000 students have attended MultiCare Nurse Camp.

“We are thrilled to deliver this comprehensive, hands-on program to 105 local, diverse and talented high school students,” said Sheri Mitchell, Nurse Camp program coordinator and community outreach liaison for the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living and Health Equity. “It is our hope by the end of the camp that the students will be inspired and motivated to pursue a career in nursing or other allied health professions.”

Highlights of MultiCare Nurse Camp

  • Hands-on station rotation: Skittlectomies, nutrition/blood sugar education, examine pig hearts and LVADs, take a tour of linen services, infection control, learn how to prepare pediatric patients for tests/procedures, practice with c-collar/backboards, perform neuro checks.
  • Job shadowing: Various units/departments at Tacoma General, Mary Bridge, Allenmore, Auburn Medical Center and Good Samaritan hospitals.
  • Operating room experience: Touring the OR, argon beam coagulator demo on grapefruits, learning about high tech surgeries and sterile technique.
  • Emergency department experience: Stations include cardiac rhythm, airway, backboard/c-spine, forearm fiberglass splinting, wound irrigation/stapling, alcohol awareness (students will wear beer goggles), medic unit (students will tour inside of ambulance), emergency preparedness.


Nurse Camp students shared their experiences throughout the week on social media using the hashtag #nursecamprocks.

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The application for Nurse Camp 2017 will be posted in January 2017. For more information, please visit