LU nursing department hosts 11th annual Nightingale Experience

photo courtesy of Lamar University

Thirty-six students from 17 schools visited Lamar University and Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth and St. Mary on June 13 and 14 as part of the 11th annual Nightingale Experience.

Hosted by the JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing in conjunction with the two hospitals, the Nightingale Experience is focused on introducing local high school students to the nursing profession, helping them gain first-hand medical experience, and helping to promote Lamar’s nursing program.

“The nursing faculty are encouraging smart and compassionate high school students to select nursing as a career, rather than selecting another field of study,” said Eileen Curl, chair of the nursing department. “Faculty members want to give back to the nursing profession by promoting bright and capable high school students to become interested in nursing for their futures.”

Participating schools include Central Medical Magnet High School, Community Christian School, East Chambers High School, Evadale High School, Grace Homeschool Co-op, Hamshire-Fannett High School, Hull-Daisetta High School, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School, Lumberton High School, Memorial High School, Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School, Nederland High School, Port Neches-Groves High School, Vidor High School, Warren High School, West Brook High School and Woodville High School.

“The students will meet with current nursing students who will discuss issues related to majoring in nursing, such as pre-nursing courses, the admission process, nursing curriculum, and career opportunities in nursing,” said Gina Hale, nursing instructor and Nightingale Experience project manager.

Participants practiced nursing skills in the McFaddin Ward Health Sciences building at Lamar. They toured St. Mary and returned to Lamar for games and activities in the McFaddin Ward Health Sciences building and Cardinal Village Campbell Hall. The students toured St. Elizabeth on Saturday.

Students visit area hospitals and work in simulated medical settings with Lamar nursing students and faculty. The students also spend time in the Edna Horn Gay Learning Center learning to perform skills such as checking blood pressure, IV insertion, injections, pulse oximetry and oxygenation under the guidance of nursing faculty, Hale said.

In addition, the schools rotate through Lamar’s state-of-the-art High Fidelity Simulation Lab and participate in a childbirth simulation.

“One of the hospitals sets up a fake trauma situation for the students,” Hale said. “An ambulance will bring in a fake trauma patient and the students will assist in resuscitating the patient.”

“The Nightingale Experience provides students with an overview of the many types of nursing positions there are in a hospital setting,” Curl said. “One of the benefits of being a nurse is the opportunity to work with different types of patients from pregnant women, the intensive care unit, patients with cardiac problems and the emergency department and others.”

Students participating in the program were nominated by their high school counselors, Hale said.

“We ask the counselors to nominate students who excel academically, demonstrate leadership and have an interest in nursing or healthcare-related professions,” Hale said. “Each year we host a luncheon for high school counselors in the region. During the luncheon, we provide the counselors with updated information about the JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing in order to assist them to best advise high school students interested in pursuing a career as a professional nurse.”

The nursing department offers four-year bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees in nursing for on campus and online students. For more information about the Nightingale Experience or the Lamar nursing program, contact Gina Hale at gina [dot] hale [at] lamar [dot] edu or Eileen Curl, department chair, at Eileen [dot] curl [at] lamar [dot] edu.

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