High school students who are interested in a nursing career had the opportunity to learn about nursing this summer by participating in the Mennonite College of Nursing’s (MCN) first PROUD (Pre-entry and Retention Opportunities for Undergraduate Diversity) Summer Nurse Camp at Illinois State University.

Students working on SAM

Students are shown how to take vitals.

The goals of providing this camp were to increase participant’s awareness, interest, and knowledge of nursing career opportunities and educational requirements, as well as increase their confidence by providing a college experience that will prepare them for nursing school.

MCN contacted 28 area high schools, clubs, organizations, and churches to promote the camp. There were 19 Central Illinois high school students, from ages 15–17, enrolled in the program.

During the three-day camp, held June 24–26, students participated in nursing scenarios at the MCN Simulation Lab and other areas across campus, interacted with current nursing students, and shadowed professionals at medical centers. The students also heard about nursing opportunities from a career panel discussion with Sue Albee ’95, supervisor at the McLean County Health Department; Jenna Grider Ford ’09, a pediatric nurse; Mary Weber Kamm ’12, a maternity nurse; Beth Kimmerling, McLean County Coroner; and Blanca Miller, instructional assistant professor at MCN.

“This was a wonderful experience for these students, and we are grateful for the support from Sue Albee at the McLean County Health

Students on the quad

Students participating in a scavenger hunt.

Department, McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling and Stephanie Coram at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center for helping us make this a successful experience,” said Catherine Miller, principal investigator for the PROUD grant.

MCN plans to offer nursing summer camps in 2014 and 2015. For more information about the camps or the PROUD project, call Angel Seal at (309) 438-1820.

The PROUD nurse camp is just one aspect of ongoing diversity initiatives at MCN, funded from a $1.1 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administered through the department’s Health Resources Services Administration and Nursing Workforce Diversity, the grant is geared toward recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups to the nursing profession.