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July 19, 2002 -- No. 397

High school students explore nursing careers during weeklong camp

Today (July 19), 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (see below for specific sessions)

UNC Hospitals and 311 Carrington Hall (UNC School of Nursing)

Checking the vital signs of a patient in the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and witnessing the emergency admission of critical-care patients from incoming ambulances will be among the experiences 36 high school students can expect today (July 19) as participants in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursingís 2002 Nursing Exploration Week.

The residential program, based on the UNC campus July 14-19, gives students the opportunity to shadow nurses at Triangle-area medical centers. Nurses from Rex Healthcare, Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham Technical Community College Department of Nursing and UNC Hospitals have introduced students throughout the week to nursing-care situations they encounter during a typical workday.

The students participating in this yearís program come from 28 North Carolina counties and are between ages 16 and 18. Forty-four percent of them represent a racial or ethnic minority group.

The UNC School of Nursing established Nursing Exploration Week in 1990 to share the profession with students interested in health-care careers. Of the more than 400 students who have participated in the program since its inception, 40 percent have gone on to become nurses.

"The School of Nursing is extremely proud to offer this program," said Kathy Moore, program director. "We feel itís a great way to introduce potential nurses to the profession and show them how rewarding a nursing career can be. This type of initiative is especially important in light of the current nursing shortage, which is expected to worsen over the next decade if more nurses arenít drawn to the field."

Todayís schedule:

9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. UNC Hospitals, 101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill

Participants will pair with nurses to learn more about critical care, pediatrics and surgical services. Among the sites they will visit are the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center, the Medicine Intensive Care Unit and the Coronary Care Unit.

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. 311 Carrington Hall, UNC School of Nursing

Participants will meet with sponsors of the 2002 Nursing Exploration Week, including representatives from Rex Healthcare, UNC Hospitals, Linville Foundation and Triangle Community Foundation. After lunch, students will give their assessments of the program and receive awards recognizing their participation.

Interviews: To arrange an on-site interview with a program participant and nurse mentor, call Sunny Smith Nelson at the UNC School of Nursing at (919) 966-1412.

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School of Nursing contact: Sunny Smith Nelson, (919) 966-1412