HOPE Camp gives rural high school students behind-the-scenes look at health care careers

photo of HOPE Camper using stethoscope

Health care professionals are in demand and high school students from rural towns in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota are using their summer to learn more about health care careers. A five-day camp at NDSU’s College of Health Professions and Sanford Health introduces high school students from rural areas to jobs in health care.

The Health Occupations and Professions Exploration (HOPE) program gives students a behind-the-scenes view and hands-on experiences in health professions—from working in a pharmacy lab to radiologic sciences, pathology and more.

Students explore career options through interactive workshops learning from professionals, while also experiencing campus life.

photo of HOPE Camper

HOPE Camp provides students with on-the-job views of numerous health professions in the areas of nursing, pharmacy, paramedics, radiologic technicians, respiratory care and much more.

The demand for health care workers continues. Pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS and Walmart in the last several months announced combinations of pay increases, bonuses, and other recruitment efforts amid labor shortages. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics predicts an increase of 23 percent in the demand for respiratory therapists, an 11 percent increase for medical lab scientists, an increase of 9 percent for radiologic sciences technicians, a 9 percent increase for nurses, and a sharp 45 percent increase for nurse practitioners needed.

Photo of HOPE Camp participants in pharmacy lab

Students visit NDSU Aldevron Tower for Health Professions and Sanford locations.

HOPE Camp participant Hannah Maves is interested in pharmacy as a career and says the camp provides opportunities. “It just opens the door for so many different things and you get first-hand experience of so many possible careers in the medical field,” said Maves.

“The whole experience has been amazing. You get to meet new friends. You get to meet people your age from different towns. You get to experience things together and you’re all figuring it out together. And you’re all here for different reasons but for an end goal of hopefully figuring out your career,” said Maves, a high school senior.

photo of HOPE Campers in NDSU Nursing Simulation

“This partnership allows us to show high school students the wide array of careers available in health care,” said Aleisha Lokken, director of student affairs in the NDSU College of Health Professions.

“With so many different career options, HOPE Camp provides students a behind-the-scenes look at different health care professions,” said Dana Davis, senior career development consultant, Sanford Aspire K-12.

“We give students hands-on look to help them decide if the medical field is right for them,” said Susie Munyer, senior career development consultant at Sanford who is among the professionals leading students in the five-day camp.

Students in NDSU’s College of Health Professions programs serve as chaperones and mentors to high school students attending the camp, sharing their college experience as they work toward careers in health care.

HOPE Camp is made possible by a Walgreens Diversity Program grant and Sanford Health.

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