NorthBay Healthcare marked the ninth year of its wildly popular Nurse Camp with 33 high school students from across Solano County participating in the four-day event in late June. The event is presented by a team of 25 registered nurses who also work in the organization’s Nurse Ambassador Program at local high schools. Their goal is to introduce teens to the world of nursing at an age when they are choosing careers.
This year, camp organizers have reason to celebrate. One of the very first nurse campers, Katy Stoltz, earned her nursing degree in San Diego. And a second participant, Liz Allard, is attending nursing school. Both girls are Vacaville High School graduates.
Nurse Camp founders Maureen Allain, R.N., and Mary Hempen, R.N., attended Katy’s pinning ceremony. Katy will begin her nursing career in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
“When we started Nurse Camp in 2005 we had a program with no students,” Hempen remembers. “A week before our first camp we had to go out and recruit every one of the teens who attended. Katy came and just loved it.”
Today, positions in Nurse Camp are highly coveted and applicants have less than a 50/50 chance of getting into the four-day program. The students visit a wide range of departments at both NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, including the Emergency Department, Operating Room, Labor and Delivery, the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Intensive Care Unit. They examined emergency response vehicles and talked to a flight nurse when a CALSTAR medical helicopter landed at VacaValley Hospital.
“Year after year, nurse camp graduates say the best part of their experience is the personal interaction with NorthBay nurses,” said Allain. “We have so many great nurses involved in making this program a success. We all love nursing and want to share this wonderful profession with as many students as we can.”