High Schoolers Get Jump Start On Nursing Career

July 22nd, 2016 | SMWC

Student placing a mannequin patient on a board.
SMWC campers learn how to place a mannequin patient on a board during nursing camp.

By: Katie Shane

Undergoing surgery can be a scary and nerve racking experience, but not for Kyndall Fields. The 14 year-old not only faced having her tonsils removed without even batting an eye, but she also talked her nurse through the steps it takes to place an IV.

“She said she wasn’t scared about it because she had just learned that an IV isn’t really a needle, it’s a pick-line,” explains her mom Terri Fields. “She told them, ‘Okay, let’s do it, I know how to do an IV and more’, and she knew it all because she had just finished the Nursing Camp at The Woods.”

Kyndall Fields, along with a handful of other aspiring nurses just wrapped a unique hands-on learning experience at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. The campers, all high school students, each gained an insight into the multifaceted and complex field of nursing.

“I did enjoy the camp,” says Fields, an incoming freshman at West Vigo High School in Terre Haute, Ind. “I think it will be beneficial in the future because we were taught things that not everyone my age and grade have been taught.”

This summer marked the second Nursing Camp hosted June 20-24, 2016, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. The camp provided an inside look at nursing and healthcare. It was designed to introduce high school students to professional nursing and allied healthcare provision for patients in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Labor & Delivery, Pediatric Care, Adult Medical/Surgical Care, Rehabilitation and Community Based Care.

During the five-day camp, students participated in a multitude of activities and exercises. Some activities included students visiting a wound care center, hospital emergency room, meeting nurses working at local hospitals and sitting in on healthcare lectures and presentations. For the students the most impactful experience was actually getting to work with “patients,” learning to place and administer an IV and give injections.

“We did so many hands-on things,” explains Sydney Dunkin, another incoming freshman at West Vigo High School. “We had the chance to start an IV, and we did injections. I think that was my favorite.”

Nusing camp students riding in an ambulance
SMWC nursing camp students learn how to care for a patient while riding in an ambulance.

Teressa "Terri" Moore, MSN, RN, a professor of nursing at The Woods co-organized the camp along with Associate Professor Bobbie Delp, FNP. Moore says participants practiced CPR on a simulator, assisted in the simulated birth of a baby, intubated a mannequin patient by airway insertion, practiced wound care and wrapping injuries, performed basic assessment skills and took vital signs. She says each of the campers thrived when they were able to put their new skills into practice, whether they were administering injections to oranges or working in the simulation center at the Rural Health Innovative Collaborative (RHIC).

“The camp is very hands on, and they are learning a lot of practical skills,” explains Moore. “By taking them to the simulation center it’s very interesting to show them that nurses have real stresses and realities, and they can practice in a safe environment.”

Not only does the RHIC gives campers the opportunity to practice and learn, but Moore says they are getting a sneak peek into what their future schooling and career could entail, years before they would traditionally have the chance.

“Our simulation center in the Wabash Valley, it is a gem; the technology that is there now is so valuable,” Moore says. “For the campers to experience this before they even get into a program, that’s huge.”

That opportunity’s gravity isn’t lost on the campers, Dunkin marvels at the chance to experience the RHIC before she’s even started high school.

“When we got to go to Regional Hospital and the simulation center located at Union Hospital, that was really cool,” she says with a smile. “It really changed my understanding of what nurses do. They don't just change bed pans or little things like that; they do so much, and it made me so excited to go into the medical field.”

Adds Fields, “I like starting IVs, intubating and going to the simulation center the most. We were able to get a simulation ‘man’ into an ambulance, intubate him and start his IV. It was very exciting.”

Spring 2016 nursing pinning.
SMWC student campers participate in a pinning ceremony. L to R: SMWC Professor of Nursing Terri Moore, MSN, RN; Grace Collins; Mary-Paige Mason; Kyndall Fields; Sydney Dunkin; Destiny Lawson; Dominique Tilford and Associate Professor Bobbie Delp, FNP.

The excitement for a future career has only grown for the young women who participated in the camp. With such a broad spectrum of specialties and practices, the campers were encouraged to research and learn as much as possible before zeroing in on their eventual area of study.

Moore says throughout the week camp participants are lead through the many career possibilities that are available to nurses after they complete schooling. Campers also learned about professionalism, interdisciplinary practice, networking and nutrition.

“It was very interesting, several students had ideas of what kind of nurse they would like to be, and if they didn’t know, they had a better idea by the end of the week,” Moore explains. “They realize that you don’t just have to be a nurse on a floor of a hospital; it opened conversations and their ideas.”

For campers like Dunkin and Fields, their confidence in their newfound IV skills is strong, while plans for the future still might need some work. As only a high school freshman Dunkin says she’s looking into anesthesia, and Fields is rethinking pediatric nursing for a possible career in the ER. Regardless of what the teens decide, they no doubt have a great start thanks to their time at The Woods.