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Nurse Camper wants to become doctor, follow in parents’ footsteps

Posted on Jul. 21, 2017 ( comments)
John DeVita, center, watches as Nurse Camp volunteers demonstrate proper technique for scrubbing in.

By Cheryl Reid-Simons

You could say medicine is in John DeVita’s blood.

His mom, Diane DeVita, is the director of the emergency department at Madigan Army Medical Center. His dad, also named John, is chief operating officer for Madigan’s radiology department. So it’s no surprise that the younger DeVita wants a career in medicine.

Right now, he has his sights set on dermatology. Before that he wanted to be a plastic surgeon and open a clinic in Africa to repair cleft palates. And before that, he was thinking neurology would be a good career.

At just 16, it’s understandable that DeVita changes his mind about which medical specialty he wants to devote himself to. The one constant he’s sure of is that he wants to be a doctor, like his mom.

“I just really have a desire to help people,” he says. “It comes from my mother. I love everything that my mom does.”

That includes community service. He helps prepare meals at the Tacoma Women’s Shelter, something he learned about by watching his mom volunteer there, as well as at Nativity House.

To help nurture his interest in medicine. DeVita will participate in this year’s MultiCare Nurse Camp, which exposes students interested in a variety of medical fields to real-life experiences in MultiCare facilities.

The intensive five-day camp is free, but the admission process is rigorous. And despite the name, the camp is geared not just to young people interested in nursing, but to those interested in any medical career.

As the child of a doctor, DeVita understands that well. Physicians, nurses and medical technicians are all part of a health care team, he says. Each role is vital, and working with and learning about all of those professions is important to him as he fine-tunes what he wants to do as an adult.

Although he’s visited his mom’s work and had more than your average teenager’s exposure to medical professionals, he believes Nurse Camp will give him the kind of firsthand, real world experience he craves.

He’s also looking forward to spending time with like-minded teenagers who share his interest in medicine.

Of course, DeVita and his fellow campers won’t be treating actual patients. Instead they’ll get to practice suturing pig legs or immobilize each other on back boards and a host of other activities to give them each a real feel for what it’s like to work in medicine.

“It’s a really great opportunity to get to have a hands-on experience in a hospital,” he says. “You can sit in a classroom and they can tell you everything about it, but when you’re in there, in scrubs doing things in real life, that’s amazing.”

DeVita, who will be a senior at Bellarmine Preparatory School in the fall, hopes to attend the University of Washington once he graduates from high school.

And after Nurse Camp, he acknowledges he will probably have a few more medical specialties to consider.

Learn more about Nurse Camp

Posted in: Special Events | Tacoma
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