The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is hosting fifteen high school upperclassmen and recent graduates from around the state to participate in Anchorage Nurse Camp as part of an effort to boost the number of Alaska Native nurses.

Recruiting and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN), a part of UAA’s School of Nursing, is hosting the program. Students are expected to learn hands-on skills like giving injections, dressing wounds, checking vital signs, and other simulated treatments learned on dummies.

RRANN coordinator and nursing professor Annette Rearden tells Alaska Dispatch News that the goal of the camp is to introduce students to the profession and encourage them to consider a career in nursing. The state of Alaska is in the midst of a nursing shortage, and culturally competent nurses are essential to providing good care. Currently, rural and urban areas of Alaska rely on traveling nurses who work 13-week rotations, but more Alaska Native nurses are needed state-wide. Rearden feels that Alaska Native and American Indian nurses are widely underrepresented compared to demographics in the state. She hopes the camp will be a way to increase the percentage.

Students participating in the camp have reported that they have a lot of information to learn, but they’ve enjoyed it. The simulations they’ve tackled include hypothetical situations like treating a hypothermic child who has been lost in the woods.

To learn more about UAA’s Anchorage Nurse Camp, visit here.

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