Students from around Sonoma County recently learned about the diverse field of nursing, from putting in IVs to delivering babies, at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Rosa Medical Center.
The day’s activities were part of Nurse Camp, a program spearheaded in 2009 by Vicky Locey, RN, DNP, chief operating officer and chief nursing executive at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center.
Locey started Nurse Camp because she wanted to introduce young people to the world of nursing and its existing opportunities.
“We want to open their hearts and their minds to what a career in nursing could look like,” Locey said.
Kaiser Permanente nurses, who lead and run this program, work with local schools and teachers to identify students who are interested in health care careers. Since the program started, hundreds of teenagers have attended this one-day annual camp to get hands-on nursing experience. By the end of the day, they have a better understanding of the crucial skills required to treat and care for patients.
An ‘eye opening’ experience
This year, 15 students from Piner High School in Santa Rosa and 25 students from nearby Windsor High School participated. The students suited up in scrubs, performed chest compressions on a mannequin, and helped deliver a pretend baby, among other activities.
“It was definitely eye-opening because I’ve never really had an experience like that,” said Kai Clifton, a senior at Windsor High School when talking about the childbirth simulation.
Clifton said he wanted to attend this program to gain a head start on thinking about career possibilities.
“I have always wanted to help people since I was young, and I am so glad to be here because we get to learn different styles of nursing and different aspects of it as well,” he said.
Azul Galvan, a Windsor High School senior, said she enjoyed following the instructions and tasks. If she got something wrong, she was told how to correct it.
“It’s not just a lecture, you actually do hands-on activities,” she said.
Locey has been a nurse for 40 years and hopes this program inspires a new generation of health care workers.
“It’s the happiest day of the year for me to see our kids in our community have an opportunity to learn and be exposed to something that is near and dear to my heart,” said Locey. “This is the program I am most proud of, and I hope it lives on well past my tenure here.”