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Media Advisory

For immediate use

June 22, 2006 -- No. 321

High school students explore nursing careers;
get practical, on-hands experience at UNC

Friday (June 23), 9-11 a.m.
Carrington Hall
School of Nursing, UNC-Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing invites media representatives to join Nursing Exploration Week participants and their nurse mentors for a hands-on activity and tour of the school's Biobehavioral Laboratory.

The 36 high school student participants in this year's Nursing Exploration Week will be introduced during the session to "Stan," the school's state-of-the-art human patient simulator, as well as to experience injection simulations before their tour of the laboratory.

The 15- to 17-year-olds participants hail from 33 of North Carolina's 100 counties - including several from in and around the Triangle. Forty-nine percent of them represent an ethnic minority and 9 percent represent a nursing gender minority.

Nursing Exploration Week, a residential program, gives students an opportunity to shadow nurses at Triangle-area medical centers to experience health-care situations that nurses encounter during typical workdays.

UNC's School of Nursing established Nursing Exploration Week in 1990 to share the profession with students interested in healthcare careers. Kathy Moore, program director and director of admissions at the School of Nursing, tracks the students beyond the program. Of the 615 students who have participated since its inception, more than 40 percent have gone on to become nurses. School officials say that success rate is significant in light of the current nursing shortage, which is expected to grow to 400,000 unfilled positions by 2020, according to one study.

"The School of Nursing is extremely proud to offer this program," said Moore. "We feel it's 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 aren't drawn to the field."

Program costs including meals, lodging and transportation was $1,250 per student. Participants were asked to pay $300; the rest was subsidized by the program's sponsors and patrons- Rex Healthcare, the School of Nursing and its alumni association and the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Eastern Region. Additional funds were provided by the Partnership for Recruitment Innovation, Diversity and Excellence in Nursing, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Clinical support was provided by the UNC Health Care System. Sponsors awarded full scholarships for a third of the program participants.

"The students consistently rank the program as very helpful in making their career choices," said Moore. "We have many students who enter the program undecided about a career and, upon completion of the program, decide nursing is the most rewarding profession that he or she can pursue."

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Note: Media representatives interested in covering this availability are asked to call (919) 966-4619 no later than 8:30 a.m. Friday (June 23) to arrange for parking.

School of Nursing contact: Amanda Meyers at (919) 966-4619, (919) 602-2856 (cell on site Friday) or amanda_meyers@unc.edu
News Services contact: Karen Moon at (919) 962-8595 or karen_moon@unc.edu.