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High school students get involved in a first hand nursing experience

June 18, 2004


Sixteen high school students ranging in ages from 15 to 17 years old will participate in a three-day Nursing Discovery Camp on June 28, 29 and 30 on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus.

The camp has attracted Aroostook County high school students as well as students from other parts of the state. This camp is being sponsored by the UMFK and Northern Maine Medical Center.

Students will be engaged at UMFK and NMMC in many hands on activities including taking vital signs and basic first aid techniques in hopes to spark interest in a profession that is very highly in demand.

They will be able to see the field in action by shadowing nurses at NMMC as well as learning about specific fields involved such as medical-surgical, obstetrical, operating room, emergency, psychiatric and advanced practice nursing.

"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."

The opportunity for participants to gain the perspective of those already enrolled in the nursing program at UMFK should prove to have a great impact. The nursing students will be acting as mentors along with faculty and NMMC staff, as well as engaging in the entertaining activities planned for the evenings which include a bonfire, movie night, canoe trip as well as a disability obstacle course where participants will be able to experience what it is like to operate with a disability.

"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

This camp has been in the works since last fall and much planning and preparation has gone into it. Soucy feels that "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."

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

For more information please contact Lena Michaud at 834-7580.