• Rome Memorial Hospital’s three-day Health Care Academy (HCA) program introduced 17 campers from nine different schools to a broad array of healthcare careers. Sponsored by Rome Hospital Foundation and M&T Bank, the Health Care Academy was held at the hospital August 2-4.

    “The students had an opportunity to meet with healthcare workers from numerous departments throughout the hospital, talk about their jobs and see them in action in addition to participating in hands-on activities,” said Rome Memorial Hospital Director of Education, Volunteer Services and Employee Health Julie Chrysler. “We are eager to help these students become familiar with the broad range of opportunities that healthcare offers because there is a tremendous need for more people to choose these challenging and rewarding career fields.”


    Students at Rome Memorial Hospital’s Health Care Academy (HCA) get hands on experience inside the hospital’s hazardous materials decontamination tent Friday morning. Working alongside the hospital’s Decontamination Unit Nicholas Facciolo, far left and Noel Colp, far right; HCA participants: Anthony Carrock, James Pike and McKenna Smyth work at decontaminating fellow student Ella Hale. Looking on are Hospital Director of Education, Volunteer Services and Employee Health Julie Chrysler and student Emery Crossley. 17 students from local schools spent three days exploring various healthcare careers and getting a behind the scenes look at the hospital. 

    “When exploring careers, today’s young people are often faced with choosing between a high tech environment and working with people,” Chrysler said. “Healthcare is unique because it offers the best of both worlds.”

    Area students, entering eighth or ninth grade in September, with an interest in exploring a healthcare career, attended the interactive summer camp. Participants included: Rachel Bellinger, Carissa Bourgeois and Ella Hale, eighth graders at Adirondack Central Schools; Shayla Oatman, Holland Hawkes and Autumn Kahler, all ninth grade at Camden High School; Anthony Carrock and McKenna Smyth, all ninth grade at Holland Patent High School; Emery Crossley, eighth grade at Holland Patent Middle School; Peter Stokes, eighth grade at Utica Notre Dame School; Adam Myers, eighth grade at Otto Shortell Middle School; Megan Mead, ninth grade at Rome Free Academy; Madelyn Jabs, eighth grade at Saugerties Middle School; James Pike and Ashton Thompson, eighth graders at Strough Middle School; and Perri Cronk and Anna Rossi, ninth graders at Vernon Verona Sherrill High School.

    The students, dressed in their scrubs, met with professionals in pharmacy, nursing, respiratory, speech and physical therapy, medical imaging, the laboratory and maternity. They also learned how to use a stethoscope, how to perform CPR and how to operate an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Students spent their final day at the camp immersed in a disaster drill which featured a mock accident and a first-hand tour through the hospital’s decontamination tent. They were able to follow a patient from the accident scene to an Amcare Ambulance and through the emergency department.
    In addition to their hospital scrubs, each camper was given their own t-shirt, stethoscope, breakfast and lunch and a certificate of completion.

    Anthony Carrock, a ninth grader from Holland Patent High School, confirmed his interest in a career in healthcare. “I really enjoyed the experience of HCA Camp,” he said. “I was thinking that the camp was going to be like school with tests and paperwork. I enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in the activities and learn about what happens in the hospital.”

    For Carrock, the visit to the pharmacy department helped confirm his interest in becoming an ophthalmologist as he prepares for the beginning of the new school year. “I was surprised at the technology being used in the pharmacy,” he said. “They have a machine which bags the pills and gives information about the medicine, which was really impressive.”

    For Rachel Bellinger, an eighth grader at Adirondack Middle School, the HCA has helped point her to a possible career in nursing. “The camp has been a lot of fun,” she said. “From learning about germs in the lab to getting a chance to see the babies in maternity, the entire experience has been great.”

    “Many of the 2017 graduates have expressed an interest in returning as a volunteer or to shadow an employee in a specific department,” Chrysler noted.

    HCA Camp is only one of many educational outreach programs at Rome Memorial Hospital.

    “Career exploration and education is an ongoing initiative at Rome Memorial Hospital,” explained Chrysler. “We partner with business, education and the community to support workforce development in our area and increase awareness of healthcare careers.”

    Rome Memorial Hospital’s career education programming includes:
    • Madison-Oneida BOCES Professional Horizons and New Ventures programs;
    • College internships & student placements;
    • Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES Program for Excellence;
    • College Works with MVCC and ARC
    • Work-study programs with BOCES and Pathways, DDSO;
    • Career fairs for middle and high school students;
    • Mentoring and shadowing opportunities; and
    • Volunteer opportunities that provide hands-on career exploration.

    Chrysler also praised two organizations for their contributions to the success of the camp. “The exposure to the world of healthcare that the students received this week is invaluable,” she said. “However, without the funding we received through Rome Hospital Foundation and M&T Bank, none of this would have been possible.”