The University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Nurse Camp program for high school students. The week-long camp originally grew out of a need to encourage more first-generation and minority college students to pursue nursing degrees.
Carolyn Chow, co-director of the UW Nurse Camp and director of admissions and student diversity for the School of Nursing, tells Washington.edu, “We had to figure out how to effectively reach applicants earlier with more supportive resources and experiences to learn about nursing as a career option. They love the camp because it’s an opportunity to connect directly with nursing student mentors and professional nurses. And it’s an opportunity for us as a school to have a clear impact on diversifying the next generation of nurses.”
Throughout the week of sessions, students learn a variety of nursing skills including hands-on training in CPR, hand washing, infection control, recording vital signs, and more. Campers also learn from current students in the School of Nursing’s recently opened simulation center, providing a mutually beneficial leadership development program for current UW nursing students.
As part of Nurse Camp, students also attend sessions to learn about financial aid and scholarships to help them prepare for college admissions. To date, about 98 percent of camp alumni have gone to college afterward. The Nurse Camp program is free to campers thanks to private donations.
To learn more about the University of Washington’s Nurse Camp for high school students to learn about nursing as a degree and career option, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Christina Gay, a cancer survivor and ‘I Have a Dream’ program alum, who nurses patients back to health after surgery. The I Have a Dream program is designed to help more than 300 kids in low-income neighborhoods graduate from high school and move on to higher education. Gay was chosen to participate as a young fourth grader and now holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Gay started experiencing problems with her lower right leg the summer before her senior year of high school. It was swollen and painful, and she was told she had a fracture even though she had done nothing to cause one. Eventually an MRI revealed that she had a tumor. Several surgeries later she still hadn’t healed properly and the most viable option for getting back on her feet was to amputate.
Determined to give herself the best possible future, Gay decided to have her leg amputated. She was already in a nursing program at Clark College at that point, and unwilling to give up on her plans, Gay scheduled her surgery for spring break so that she could get back to school as soon as possible.
Gay is a now a graduate of the bachelor’s degree in nursing program at Washington State University Vancouver and a nurse at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. She credits the I Have a Dream program for helping her realize the importance of education and providing her with the guidance to achieve her dreams of becoming a nurse.
Having seen both sides of the nurse-patient relationship as a past cancer patient, Gay tells Columbian.com, “To understand what it’s like to be in that bed and not know what’s going on: It helps me when I explain something. I have a little more empathy…I feel like this is what I Have a Dream has instilled in me: You can do anything you dream!”
To learn more about Christina Gay and her unique path to a career in nursing, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Navy Lt. Cmdr. Erika Schilling, a military nurse midwife who used her medical training to help save a man’s life during a Washington State Ferry trip. Schilling had spent the day at a museum with her two sons and was on the return trip home when she overheard another passenger frantically telling someone that a passenger needed immediate medical attention. She jumped to attention, performing lifesaving CPR on a complete stranger.
“I just happened to be there and heard that help was needed. I heard her on the phone saying, ‘This is an emergency.’ My ears went up.”
When Schilling was brought to the ill passenger, he was slumped over and didn’t appear to be breathing. Schilling immediately moved him onto the floor and began performing CPR while another passenger retrieved an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). She shared CPR duties with another passenger trained in basic life support skills for 14 minutes until the ferry docked and emergency medical responders took over, transporting the man to a nearby medical center.
Schilling is a military nurse midwife at Naval Hospital Bremerton in Washington state. She credits her 21 years of Navy and Nurse Corps training for allowing her to save a stranger’s life on a normal ferry ride while off duty. Schilling tells the Department of Defense, “I just happened to be there and heard that help was needed. I heard her on the phone saying, ‘This is an emergency.’ My ears went up.”
Once the man was safely in the hands of emergency medical responders, Schilling found out that the man and his wife were visiting the area. Schilling stayed with his wife and drove her from the ferry to the hospital. The man is reported to be safely recovering at home following the incident.
Schilling has since been awarded the Life Ring Award from Washington State Ferry, a certificate usually reserved for employees who respond to life-and-death emergencies or perform rescues. To learn more about Schilling’s lifesaving efforts, visit here.
Funded by a $2.4 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, the School of Nursing at University of Washington (UW) is launching the Center for Innovation in Sleep Self-Management. The center will be working to develop ways to help adults and children with chronic illness improve sleep quality.
Sleep deficiencies are linked to a higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity, but sleep is not routinely assessed in primary care settings. For individuals who struggle with chronic health problems, poor sleep can make it even more difficult to manage their conditions. To help those with chronic conditions improve sleep quality, the center will explore technologies that patients can use at home to help themselves. This will include home sensors to track noise, light, and temperature; mobile applications to measure diet, exercise, and caffeine intake; and wristbands to monitor sleep-wake activity and light levels.
Researchers working for the center will also be collecting data on pain intensity, fatigue, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression to create a data repository to share with scientists and patients nationwide. The goal of the data and tools being developed by the center is to allow patients to monitor their sleep behavior, set goals, and receive feedback. Funding from NIH will allow for two new junior researchers and three pilot projects to be conducted at the center under the leadership of UW assistant professors Oleg Zaslavsky and Jennifer Sonney.