The United States’ health care system is facing a nursing shortage that is only expected to grow as baby boomers continue to age. But one hospital in central Illinois has developed a new program to address the problem and get teens interested in the field.
An article published yesterday in the State Journal-Register highlights Memorial Health System’s annual “Teens Experiencing Nursing” camps. The free camps provide teens interested in nursing the chance to shadow nurses as they go about their shifts and get an inside look into what nursing is all about.
The camps vary in length from a few days to a week, with teens following nurses for eight hours as they care for patients in a variety of specialties including emergency rooms, surgical floors and oncology units. The program is competitive and requires students to apply, about half of which are accepted.
One student, Hannah Niemann, said that the program helped her confirm that nursing was the career she wanted to pursue:
I found myself really interested in nursing and wanted to further pursue it to make sure nursing was the career for me … the experience has just made me know 100 percent that this is the career I’d like to fall into.
With the amount of nurses leaving the workforce and themselves needing care, it’s important to get the next generation interested in becoming nurses to fill their places. People will always need health care, and on top of the need, it provides a stable career in a time where many industries are cutting jobs.