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The Catalyst

Nurses teach high school seniors about medical careers

By Emily Upshur
Public Relations

Students examine various medical instruments and nursing equipment, trying to guess the name and purpose of each piece as part of an exercise. Campers worked with nurse educators getting career advice and professional training. photo by Emily Upshur, Public Relations

Part of growing up is deciding on a career path. The health care field offers many diverse career opportunities that students may be interested in pursuing.    

Through a partnership with the Charleston County School District, MUSC nurses offered a three–day nursing camp for 15 rising high school seniors. These students come from Garrett Academy of Technology, R.B. Stall High School, Wando High School, and West Ashley High School.

During camp, students interested in jobs in health care listened to a variety of MUSC staff members discuss their professions. Students learned about the hospital, medical equipment, how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and also heard nurses share stories related to their own experiences.

One of the newest additions to the program is a mentor–student relationship.

Cameron Mitchum, R.N., said, “We started the mentorship part of the program this year. Each day the student goes to lunch with a nurse who has volunteered to be a guide and mentor to the student. They tour various parts of the hospital and hear nursing stories. That is one of the most valuable parts of this experience, when the campers get to ask nurses, ‘how did you become a nurse,’ ‘how much do you make,’ and ‘what kind of jobs have you had and what kind of jobs are out there?’ The mentor interacts with the student one–to–one, establishing a relationship and answering some of those questions.”

Another part of the camp focused on teaching students what is required to enter the health care profession. Nurses and multidisciplinary staff members shared their own educational and clinical experiences. Students practiced interviewing strategies such as how to introduce themselves, shake hands and ask questions of the interviewer. Students also learned about salary ranges for different areas in healthcare and how much professionalism is valued and sought after in candidates for employment.  

The students expressed excitement for the camp, many of them stating they were interested in careers in Obstetrics and Gynecology or working in Labor and Delivery. Theresa Linker, a sixteen-year-old from West Ashley High School, said the camp gave her an opportunity to be in a real-life heath care environment. Destiny Verbage of Stall High School has wanted to work in the medical field ever since she was young. She originally wanted to be a doctor, but now she wants to be a nurse, most likely in the Labor and Delivery Unit.

Nicole Aiken, from Garrett Academy, said, “I think the camp has impacted my life because it has given me a chance to get to know more about the hospital and the job opportunities that are out there. I have a better idea of what I want to do for my future career.”

Registered nurse Melissa Dunkerley,  spoke about the growth students experience at the camp. “It’s nice to see that enthusiasm there and the amount that they seemed to grow over those three days. They come in, all timid and not really sure what they were coming into. But by the end, they have learned so much and have practiced interviewing strategies and shaking hands and have built up so much confidence.”

On Aug. 7, the camp held a closing ceremony where the hospital’s chief nursing officer Marilyn Schaffner, Ph.D., R.N., spoke about what the students learned and then presented each of them with a certificate of attendance and a stethoscope. Students also received a number of gifts and promotional materials donated by hospital departments, including T–shirts, MUSC bags and thumb drives. Students were asked to invite their parents to the ceremony in order to help celebrate their accomplishments at camp.

August 29, 2014



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