What is Nursing Camp?
Career preparation opportunities extend far beyond the guidance counselor’s office. If your high school student is interested in a high demand field like health care, there are plenty of activities he or she can participate in during the summer, some of them life altering. How about day camp at the Mayo Clinic? One of the latest trends in healthcare education is nursing camp!
Colleges of nursing around the country are opening their doors to high school students -- and sometimes even middle schoolers. Students may spend anywhere from two days to four weeks immersed in health care related activities. Some of these experiences carry a cost like any other summer camp. There are some elite ones. Others (often shorter day camps) are free. Some are exclusively for high achieving minority or disadvantaged students while others accept deserving students without regard to income level.
It’s a win-win situation - a teenager may ultimately have much to offer to the nursing field. Nursing is the largest healthcare field, and an aging population makes it one of the most in-demand careers on into the foreseeable future. Healthcare organizations know that in order to meet demand they need to reach out to youngsters who traditionally haven’t gone to nursing school. They want to show them that nursing is challenging and exciting, and that becoming a professional nurse is an achievable goal.
Nursing Camp Activities
What can a student expect from nursing camp? Students often spend part of their time job shadowing. They learn what a day is actually like in the life of an RN. They may also have the opportunity to briefly meet nurses from a wide variety of roles and specialties -- even new ones like genetics. There are generally a range of health care themed activities. There may be stations where students experiment with different apparatus. Students will probably get a chance to tour the school’s simulation lab, and there may even be opportunities to try it out. Giving mannequins shots -- that’s just one of the activities teenagers may participate in.
Some schools also give students some very pragmatic skills. They may leave knowing CPR. They may also leave with a better understanding of what college is about and how to apply. As Baptist Memorial notes, the camp experience can look good on college applications. It’s about learning, but it’s fun, too. Overnight camps may include activities like bowling. Sometimes kids get to leave with something tangible like their own pair of scrubs.
Nursing Camp Program Considerations
Nursing camps cater to students of widely varying abilities and income levels. There are many day camps around the nation, accepting mostly local students. Those that do cost money come with a full range of price tags -- like most other things in life. The University of Pennsylvania has a month-long camp where 11th and 12th grade students live in the freshman dorm and take actual nursing classes, modified for their age group. They do clinical work in a state-of-the-art simulation lab, and go on day excursions in their free time. In the words of the school, they get the “Ivy League Experience” The price is hefty: $6,175. Don’t get discouraged, though, if you are among the majority for whom this is out of reach. Bellin College in Wisconsin has a four day overnight camp that costs $95. AHEC sleep away camps may cost even less. Some camps have limited scholarships. (And even if they need to take a bag lunch to day camp, students can have an experience they’ll remember across a lifetime.)
How do you prepare your student -- and yourself? Free camps are often competitive, and spots are limited. Solid performance in math and science courses can be a big plus. Guidance counselor recommendations may also be considered. Prestigious summer school camps like UPenn also have an application process, but there are some camps where spots are handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Washington, Ohio, and Wisconsin are among the states where the concept of nursing camp has really take off; they each have multiple camps, catering to a wide range of needs.
Check Out this Video profiling the MultiCare Nurse Camp in Tacoma, WA:
Popular Nursing Camps
Arizona - Mayo Clinic
California - Camp RN (Oakland)
Georgia - Careers into Nursing Summer Camp (Clayton)
Indiana - Ivy Tech Community College
Kentucky - Pathways to Nursing (Northern Kentucky University)
Michigan - Genesis II Project (University of Michigan)
Mississippi - CRASH Course (Baptist Memorial)
Missouri - Lake Regional Health System
New Jersey - Trinitas Regional Medical Center
New Mexico - New Mexico Highlands University
Ohio - Summer Institute for Diversity in Nursing (Ohio State)
South Carolina - Clemson University
South Dakota - Jackrabbits Nurse Camp (South Dakota State University)
Tennessee - Lipscomb TriStar/HCA Nursing and Health Care Academy
Texas - Capital AHEC
Virginia - Virginia C.A.L.M. for Nursing
Washington - University of Washington
Wisconsin - Bellin College