UW School of Nursing E-news
December 2009  |  Return to issue home

Nurse Camp Gives Students Career Introduction

While many people think of summer camp as days spent making crafts and playing sports, and nights spent laughing with friends in cabins, for 18 Seattle area high school students, camp became an adventure in career exploration. Put on by the School of Nursing’s Diversity Awareness Group (DAwG) and UW Medical Center, the first annual UW Nurse Camp offered a chance for students to learn what nursing is all about through discussions with nursing students, job shadowing with UWMC nurses, CPR training and other activities.

Marla Salmon
Nurse Camp gives high school students an inside look at nursing. Want more? See a slide show of UW Nurse Camp, July 2009.

"I think we learned a lot about life in general here," commented one student after hearing a panel of current and former nursing students talk about their experiences. "Hearing all of [their] stories gave me more of an idea about all of the different ways to get to go where we want to go."

Nurse Camp was geared toward and advertised to underrepresented and underserved high school students in the area. While other schools offer nurse camp programs for high school students, this is the first to focus on low-income and minority students. The camp, which was entirely free for students, ran from July 20-24 at the School of Nursing. Of the 65 students who applied to the camp, only 17 were accepted through a rigorous application process that asked them questions about why they were interested in nursing and asked them to provide transcripts and a letter of reference.

"We, the Diversity Awareness Group, felt that we want nursing to better reflect the people who access health care and thought that putting on the nurse camp would be a step toward making that a reality," said Kelsey Rounds, a nursing master’s student and a founding member of the DAwG.

Students got to experience first hand what it would be like to be a nurse, through a "speed date" with local nurses, a discussion group with current nursing students, learning how to take vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate, and the chance to job shadow  nurses at UWMC and getting certified in CPR.

"Hearing the nurses and the nursing students talk afterward, you could tell that they got something out of it," said Rounds.

The primary organizers of the nurse camp were DAwG members Hyacinth Sales, Kimmy Chu and Kelsey Rounds with the help of Carolyn Chow, SoN Director of Admissions and Multicultural Student Affairs and Lauren Cline, a nurse at UWMC. The camp was sponsored by DAwG and UWMC with the help of many volunteers, including local businesses that donated food and several faculty and staff members who volunteered time or services.

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Chow

December 2009  |  Return to issue home