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4 The CaTalysT, July 3, 2015

Area students sneak a peek at nursing careers at camp Partnership with MUSC, Charleston County School District serves as pipeline to prepare future nurses By shaRon FowleR Public Relations


here is a nursing shortage in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than a halfmillion more nurses will be needed by the year 2022 to keep up with patient growth and replace those who retire or leave the profession. In an effort to attract qualified students to the field, an innovative partnership between MUSC nurses and the Charleston County School District invites rising high school seniors to get a bird’s-eye view of what it means to be a nurse in a hospital setting. MUSC offered the three–day summer nursing camp in June and provided eligible students with an opportunity to explore their professional interests in the health care field. The Department of Clinical Education’s Melissa Dunkerley, R.N., Cameron Mitchum, R.N., and Weatherly Brice, R.N., work directly with the fifteen students who registered to participate. For the first time this year, the program

was able to host skills lab classes for the students in the Simulation Center, which is located on the first floor of the College of Nursing. This state of the art training facility opened in 2008 and features 14 different multipurpose simulation rooms that are ideal for demonstrations and hands–on practice. The skills labs introduced students to patient–care equipment and procedures such as a tracheotomy, sterile precautions, infection control and cardiopulmonary resuscitation using a training manikin. Moving students away from the typical lecture–based program design to a more hands-on experience has required more volunteers to make the camp a success. Dunkerley reports having no problem recruiting nurses to help. “You’ll pass someone in the halls, and they’ll say, ‘Hey, are y’all doing the nursing camp again this year?’” In 2014, the nursing camp leadership introduced a student-mentor component into the program. It was enthusiastically received by all who participated. This one-to-one interaction with the nurses

photos by Sharon Fowler, Public Relations

Nurse Jeanette Parker, from left, demonstrates the funtions of patient care equipment in MUSC’s Healthcare Simulation Center to student campers Karlie Cradock, Erin Atz and Joshua Alvarado.

“All my life I’ve always known a lot about health care. The nursing camp confirmed that I want to be a nurse.” Erin Atz

Jazmine Scott, right, follows instructions from nurse Diana Cox on how to properly put on sterile latex gloves during one of the camp’s skills labs.

gives students a chance to ask their own specific questions and understand the work that nurses do every day in a tangible way. Erin Atz, a camp participant from Academic Magnet High School, has parents who both work at MUSC. “All my life I’ve always known a lot about health care. The nursing camp confirmed that I want to be a nurse.” Cierra June, a student from Garrett Academy, has had a much different relationship with health care institutions, having been a patient at MUSC in 2007 for the treatment of a brain tumor. June now wants to become a nurse to “give back,” adding that “Nurses don’t just assist the doctors, they do a lot more.” The nursing camp offers a dedicated block of time, so that in addition to

gaining clinical knowledge, students have an opportunity to practice interviewing skills and mentors provide guidance in filling out applications for college or employment. Dunkerley describes the value of these lessons, which encourage personal and professional growth in the students. “Sometimes it’s the simple things. We really think we’re here to teach them about nursing, but when you have a student who was so shy at the beginning they wouldn’t even reach out to shake your hand and by the closing ceremony, you see the student up there with their stethoscope, you can tell they learned so much more.” Each student receives a stethoscope provided by MUSC as a reminder of their experience. Additionally, a closing ceremony is held that provides a chance for students to celebrate their personal successes at camp with their families. Pierson Price, a student from Wando High School, said the program was “awesome.” She shared that her favorite part about the camp was “just being able to talk to the nurses, hear what they’ve done and how they got here. I’m not really sure what I want to do, or how I want to become a nurse. Do I want to get my associate’s degree or go straight for my bachelor’s? So, it’s nice to hear other people’s stories and what they’ve done.”

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MUSC Catalyst 7-3-2015  

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