GMU College of Health and Human Services Nursing student Megan Holmes works in the Simulation Lab at the Fairfax Campus.
Photo by Alexis Glenn
“Our goal has been to introduce high school students to what nursing is, and what it is not.”
— Carol Urban, Ph.D., R.N.
Nursing Camp for High School Students
July 10-14, 2017
Time: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Application deadline: May 8
For more information, visit
This summer a group of high school students with an interest in health care as a profession will get a chance to experience the real-world work of nurses when they attend a nursing camp at George Mason University.
“Our goal has been to introduce high school students to what nursing is, and what it is not,” said Carol Urban, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor and director, School of Nursing George Mason University. “We find that we have students come to Mason who declare nursing as their major, but have never had any experience with nurses outside of their health care provider's office or the school nurse. We want to introduce them to nursing as a career, and the many opportunities that exist in nursing beyond working in a hospital.”
The camp will provide small group projects and hands-on simulation to introduce core concepts of nursing. Nursing faculty hope to expose students to the diverse career paths available to those with a degree in nursing.
Urban says that students will be taught healthcare skills, such as how to take a blood pressure and how to check a pulse. “We will provide … time in our nursing simulation laboratory where we have our human simulators,” she said. “[Campers] will have observational experiences in a hospital with nurses and will be given an opportunity to talk with nurses we have on our faculty who have been in unique career fields including a forensics nurse, and a researcher who works globally in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The camp will also expose students to new trends in healthcare. “Healthcare delivery is changing and the camp is exposing the students to the changing healthcare climate,” said Christine M. Coussens, Ph.D., associate dean of Community Engagement in the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University. “In the newer healthcare models, nurses will have a significant role in how and when healthcare is delivered and they will continue to be leaders for ensuring the health of patients and communities.”
DURING A TYPICAL DAY at the camp, students will spend several hours in the nursing skills laboratory learning basic skills and techniques. “Then they may have some time in our nursing simulation lab, working with a [simulated human] patient and using some of those skills to practice caring for the patient,” said Urban. “On another day, they will spend several hours in one of the local hospitals on a nursing unit, observing the nurses in-action, and learning about what nurses do there. They may also spend some time in one of our Mason and Partners clinics, learning how nurses care for patients in a clinic setting and how valuable educating patients about their health is to improving their health.
Students will also have an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with nurses to gain insights into real world experience. “They'll have conversations with nurses about their careers and learning what education and experiences they needed for that kind of a job. For example, what does a forensics nurse do?” asked Urban.
Coussens hopes that students will leave the camp knowing the diversity of options that a degree in nursing can offer. “A degree in nursing opens possibilities for students to work in hospitals, healthcare management positions, policy positions … globally in clinics and with aid organizations, in forensic roles [and] research institutions,” said Coussens. “There are limitless opportunities. A degree in nursing can open doors because of the clinical license and analytical ability.”
Admission to the nursing camp is competitive because of the limited number of available spots.
“We've run this camp before and it has been well-received,” said Urban. "‘Graduates’ of the camp have said that it really opened their eyes to everything a nurse does, and the great career potential that nurses have. They are amazed at the various opportunities a nurse can have. It also makes them aware that nursing is hard, but rewarding — it isn't just what you see in the media, it's real work. But more importantly, they see the passion that nurses have for that work, and the reward of seeing a patient and family member helped by the work that nurses do.”
The camp will run from July 10-14. The cost is $275. For more information, visit chhs.gmu.edu/nursing/camp/index.cfm.