They came from 14 high schools across Solano County, converging onto two hospital campuses for a four-day intensive journey into the field of nursing.
It was Nurse Camp 2009 and, according to a number of young participants, “it rocked!”
More than 50 students applied, but only 30 were selected—23 young women and seven young men, a record according to cofounders Mary Hempen and Maureen Allain, both nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at NorthBay Medical Center.
They started the camp in 2005, an offshoot of the popular Nursing Academy, a lunchtime lecture program that NorthBay takes to high schools in Solano County throughout the school year.
“In the beginning we had to beg kids to give it a try. Now we’re turning them away,” says Maureen, who confessed how hard it was to choose among applicants this year.
Mary came up with the idea and brainstormed with Maureen how they could make it all real for high school students considering nursing careers.
“We wanted to share our passion for nursing, and show the kids all the different aspects of nursing,” says Maureen. “We’re able to bring them in to the operating room, the cardiac catheterization lab, the labor and delivery rooms, and the emergency department to try to broaden their horizons… and really give them an idea of the different opportunities.”
More than 20 nurses and a number of other employees and medical professionals participate in the week, giving students a peek into a variety of careers.
Students had a chance to experience a trauma situation in the Emergency Department, witness a portion of an open heart surgery at NorthBay Medical Center, restrain patients and cast a broken arm, all in just four days.