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UNLV nursing camp gives teens tour of profession

Updated July 21, 2021 - 2:23 pm

Fourteen teenagers spent part of Wednesday morning listening for irregularities in the heart and lungs of Nursing Anne, a manikin on a hospital bed at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas.

These high school juniors, seniors and recent graduates rotated among Nursing Anne and nearly a dozen other training stations as part of UNLV’s annual summer nursing camp. The weeklong camp, which started in 2019 but skipped last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to inspire students to pursue a career in nursing.

Lessons on Wednesday, taught by current UNLV nursing students, included suture and staple removal, skin assessment of wounds, putting on personal protective equipment and making a hospital bed. Camp activities later in the week would include a nursing panel, CPR and first-aid training, a tour of University Medical Center, ACT preparation and health sciences advising.

Minnie Wood, the director of clinical and community partnerships at UNLV’s School of Nursing, said the camp demonstrates the broad realm of nursing that includes researchers, scientists, nurse practitioners and caregivers.

“A lot of people in the public don’t realize how vast our profession is and all the different things we do,” Wood said.

For 17-year-old Ariana Tapia, the camp reinforced her desire to become a pediatrics nurse. Tapia heard about the camp through her aunt, who lives in Las Vegas, and decided to make the drive from Pasadena, California. She had no regrets about the five-hour drive.

“It makes me want to do nursing more because I really got to experience what nurses do on a daily basis,” Tapia said.

Tapia’s highlight of the camp so far was the IV push medication station, where she practiced with the help of nursing student Kiara Andrada. While administering saline medications on a manikin’s arm, Tapia asked Andrada about college admissions, the hardest pre-med class and why she chose to become a nurse. Andrada, who hopes to specialize in dermatology, said the camp would only further the knowledge of the participating teenagers.

“A lot of these kids are very intelligent already, and seeing them apply their skills at a young age, without being in nursing school yet, is amazing,” Andrada said.

Jenna Le Piere, a senior in the nursing program at West Career and Technical Academy, plans to apply to UNLV’s nursing program. But during her training with Andrada, Le Piere expressed worry because of the program’s competitiveness. Andrada encouraged her to apply and cited the program’s recent increase in capacity.

Wood highlighted the collaboration between future and current nursing students as her favorite part of the camp. In later years, she envisions that a former attendee will be assisting in the camp.

“I love that our nursing teachers are leaders, today,” Wood said. “They get to teach the campers, who are closer to their age than teachers like me, about what nursing school is actually like and how you get prepared.”

UNLV’s second session of its nursing camp begins Monday. Registration is still open and costs $635. For more information, visit unlv.edu/nursing/camp.

Contact Mathew Miranda at mmiranda@reviewjournal.com. Follow mathewjmiranda on Twitter.

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