WINCHESTER — Dressed in lime-green scrubs and wearing stethoscopes around their necks, students involved in Camp WMC were hard to miss Friday as they walked around the hospital together.

Friday marked the final day of the camp, which allowed 32 rising sixth through ninth graders to tour Winchester Medical Center’s and Shenandoah University’s facilities. The purpose of the camp, which has been offered since 2004, is to introduce students to 14 different healthcare professions. Cost for the four-day camp was $185.

Several campers said they were one step closer to knowing what they wanted to do as a career in the medical field.

Twelve-year-old Leah McDonald, a rising seventh grader at James Wood Middle School, said that by the end of this week she knew she wanted to pursue either a career as a physician’s assistant, a neurosurgeon or a general surgeon.

Leah said it was “inspiring” to hear how various people decided to work in their respective medical field. She learned that working in the medical profession is a hard work, but also rewarding.

“It helps us visualize what we want to be,” Leah said.

Some of the things students learned included CPR and how to sew stitches by practicing on pig legs. Students even got to hold a human heart and saw an amputated human arm that had cancer in it. Students also learned how to properly insert an intravenous (IV) into the arm of a practice dummy.

“Most kids our age don’t know what they’re doing,” said Joanna Brooks, 13, and a rising ninth-grader at Sherando High School.

Joanna said right now she wants to be a cardiologist.

Leah and Joanna became good friends this week and plan to keep in touch afterward, they said.

On Friday the campers learned how to support a patient if they were to pass out while standing. Sometimes, nurses wrap belts around a patient’s waist to hold onto as the patient falls. Campers pretended to faint as others held onto the belts to make sure they fell safely to the ground.

Twelve-year-old Katlynn Seibert, a rising seventh grader at Robert E. Aylor Middle School, said a nutritionist told the campers that certain popular fruit smoothie drinks are unhealthy because they contain excess sugar. The nutritionist also allowed them to compare how heavy it was to lift 5 pounds of muscle versus 5 pounds of fat.

Katlynn said she wants to be a neurosurgeon, a cardiovascular surgeon or a physician’s assistant.

“It’s very rewarding,” Katlynn said.

— Contact Anna Merod at

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