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Trinitas Regional Medical Center's Nurse Camp program is designed to help students make up their mind as to whether or not they would like to pursue a career in healthcare. Over the years, hundreds of students in Union County have participated in this program that meets students at the crossroads of their career choices and helps steer them in the direction that's right for them. Students participating in this program have gone on to become doctors, pharmacists, nurses, therapists, technicians and dozens of other various healthcare careers. Some students even have decided that healthcare is not for them have gone on to work in other areas of importance to them.
According to Lisa Liss, CVM, Director of Volunteer Services, "in 2004, we decided to offer a program to the community that we called 'Nurse Camp.' It was, and is, an opportunity for selected high school students to come to Trinitas for a week to see what it's like to work in a hospital setting and decide if nursing, or another allied health career, is something they want to pursue."
After filling out forms, the students are enrolled as Volunteers through the Volunteer Services Department, and are given instruction in medical terminology, learning all about how the hospital works, how we work as a tight-knit unit to deliver the best-possible patient care, and how all of that works to the benefit of our patients. We cover medical terminology, dealing with friends and family members of patients, and the students also get insight and advice from members of our staff who paint a picture of what each student can expect and encounter during Nurse Camp.
By the end of the week, students are given the opportunity to shadow nurses as they do their rounds. While Nurse Camp can't provide every possible scenario for the students, they are exposed to not only what nurses do, but how all of the other employees and physicians work in concert with the nurses to help treat and heal patients.
Beginning as a one week program, Nurse Camp has now expanded to six weeks per year with a minimum of 10-12 students per week. We contact the guidance counselors at all of the high schools in Union County to keep them aware of the program. The program is very successful and fills up quickly each year.
Students come in at the beginning of the week with a lot of questions and ideas about what they thought happens in a place like Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and, by the end of the week they have either solidified their choices in a healthcare career or, in some cases, decide that they might want to pursue a different career path. Either way, we believe we are providing a helpful service to the students so that they don't spend a lot of money on schooling and training only to realize later that it's not for them. And, for the ones who have made the decision that a career in healthcare is for them, we seek to encourage them to continue down that path.
Trinitas is also proud to point out that the program's success can be attributed to two important factors. The first is the enthusiastic participation of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals at Trinitas who have welcomed and embraced the students as potential colleagues in the healthcare field. The second is the support of both the Trinitas Health Foundation and the donors who have helped provide the funding for Nurse Camp over the years. Without these important champions, Trinitas would not be able to give the students the experience that this program provides.
We have two outstanding educators who work with the students and oversee their Nurse Camp experience; Patricia Haydu, RN and Eileen Mulroy, RN, who provide invaluable insight, guidance and information to the students while they're here, and we appreciate all of their efforts in this endeavor.
We look forward to continued success of our Nurse Camp program!
(NOTE: For more information on Nurse Camp please contact your high school's guidance counselor)
Student Mia Pacheco says it all