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UMFK and NMMC make plans to host summer nursing discovery camp

April 9, 2004

NR04066

Area high school students interested in exploring a career as a nurse will have the opportunity to experience the profession firsthand this summer through a unique three-day camp sponsored by the University of Maine at Fort Kent and Northern Maine Medical Center.

High school freshmen, sophomore and juniors will live the experience of a real nurse during the Nursing Discovery Camp on June 28, 29 and 30. Hands on activities and nurse job shadowing will take place at UMFK and NMMC.

According to nursing professionals at both the university and hospital, the session is one of many steps being taken to help reverse a critical nursing shortage, which has quickly become a national crisis.

'Setting career goals at an early age helps adolescents to plan constructively for their future. The Division of Nursing feels that the Nursing Discovery Camp will increase awareness of the career opportunities offered here in the St. John Valley and beyond,' said Erin Soucy, UMFK's nursing resource center manager and a member of the planning team for the summer camp. 'We hope to stimulate excitement about nursing. Participants will have the opportunity to learn select nursing skills, job shadow, and speak with nursing students enrolled at UMFK and with practicing nurses.'

Among the activities 'Nursing Discovery Camp' participants will be engaged in include learning how to take vital signs and performing basic first aid skills.

Students will also visit NMMC, where they will be paired with a practicing nurse to see the profession in action.

In addition to being introduced to the overall field of nursing, the workshop attendees will explore specific nursing fields including medical-surgical, obstetrical, operating room, emergency, psychiatric and advanced practice nursing.

'We want students to become aware of the broad variety of nursing opportunities available to them. We would also like to reinforce the important role that nurses play in the health of patients and their families. Nurses in the St. John Valley provide complex nursing care in an effort to promote health and combat disease,' said Soucy.

Nursing Discovery Campers will also participate in fun activities including a bonfire, movie night, and wheel chair races.

Several UMFK students, faculty, and NMMC staff will serve as mentor chaperones for the Discovery Camp, as well as participate in camp activities.

A team of faculty, staff and students from the UMFK division of nursing and staff at NMMC have been planning the summer camp since September 2003.

'This is in keeping with the UMFK mission, the division of nursing is committed to providing excellence in teaching and individual attention to students. Students pursuing a baccalaureate degree in nursing from UMFK will receive a top-notch education,' said Soucy.

As part of the advanced planning for the camp, the division of nursing was awarded funding through UMFK's strategic initiatives so that the students will be able to attend the three-day event at no charge.