Summer camp lets students explore nursing careers

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | June 18, 2013

Image with caption: Three students check for vital signs at nursing camp.

Three students check for vital signs at nursing camp.

They delivered a baby.

They splinted a broken femur.

They helped a person during an asthma attack.

The 24 high school students attending the College of Nursing North Division's first summer nursing camp saw a lot of action in three days, even if their "emergencies" were meticulously designed scenarios and their patients were SimMen® (or, in the case of the expectant mom, "Noelle").

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Celebrating a successful delivery with "Noelle."
One thing that wasn't simulated was the fun.

"We had a great team working together on the camp," said Liane Connelly, Ph.D., associate dean for the CON-North Division. "It went very well."

The camp gave the CON-North Division a chance to raise its profile among area high schools, an important benefit since the North Division, which opened in Norfolk in 2010, is still relatively new.

"We had a couple of students who were able to participate in a scenario one day and actually watch that situation unfold in real life in the clinical setting."

Liane Connelly, Ph.D.

"The camp provides an opportunity for these high school students to start thinking about health careers, and nursing in particular," Dr. Connelly said.

The summer camp was planned and organized by Northern Division faculty and staff. Involved were five staff, four UNMC Northern Division faculty, a group of emergency medical technicians from Randolph, Wisner and Norfolk, and even the crew from LifeNet of Norfolk, who brought their helicopter to camp to cap off the first day's activities.

"To get started on the right foot, we spoke to students about standards of practice and what nurses do from a theoretical perspective," Dr. Connelly said. "Although this may have been slow for some, it allowed us to tie it with an understanding of what the profession is all about."

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LifeNet gave campers a demonstration.

From there, though, it was on to OB and cardiac scenarios, health assessments and other scenarios. The high school students also job-shadowed nurses in different medical facilities, primarily in Norfolk.

"We had a couple of students who were able to participate in a scenario one day and actually watch that situation unfold in real life in the clinical setting," Dr. Connelly said. "That's pretty compelling."

One camper has already committed to the College of Nursing in Norfolk for the fall, Dr. Connelly said, and pre- and post-assessment -- as well as journaling exercises the campers shared with the faculty and staff -- showed that the camp was a success.

"We were very happy with the outcome of it, and we got very good feedback that we can use in planning for the future."

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