An Oklahoma university is hoping a summer camp can tackle a critical statewide nursing shortage.
Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing began a three-day camp Tuesday aimed at engaging the next generation of healthcare workers.
“All of us are extremely passionate about nursing, so it’s hard to explain to people how you do what you do every day,” OCU Kramer School of Nursing incoming graduate program chair Chris Fisher said.
Fisher recognizes that sometimes you have to be hands-on.
“I just love to see their eyes light up,” Fisher said. “They get to do it. They get to see that is part of being a nurse, having that interest in care and saving another life.”
Campers took part in simulated learning Wednesday. The first station was a CPR race.
Participants started compressions. Sensors in the CPR dummies connected to a digital car on a monitor. The first car across won.
The next station was virtual reality. The students could explore anatomy virtually, allowing each to examine bones, muscles and organs.
The final simulation allowed students to work with patients in a hospital setting. Each group was monitored and guided by an instructor on the other side of a one-way glass.
The camp was made possible through a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, which hopes it will not only fuel passions but fill a dire shortage of healthcare workers.
It’s a need particularly evident in rural Oklahoma.
“It’s really beyond critical as far as having hands-on individuals serving those communities,” Blue Cross Blue Shield Oklahoma associate vice president of public affairs J.T. Petherick said. “It’s something we find critically important to make sure we allow the opportunity for students to learn about the health profession and hopefully enter the job market.”
The company and the university also hope they will do so in the Sooner State.
The 20 high schoolers are from rural areas, mostly from towns spread out from Anadarko to Okarche.
Fisher said the camp is about encouraging their interest in the field.
“[They] see that they don’t have to go far from home to get quality education and go back into their communities and provide that life-saving, life-sustaining care we give every day,” Fisher said.