Participants work in the biology lab with Dr. Vick Huffman, PSC professor, viewing their cell phone germ growth under microscopes.
KEYSER, W.Va. — The West Virginia University School of Nursing Keyser Campus, in partnership with WVU Potomac State College and WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital, recently hosted a Nursing Academy for Mineral County middle school students interested in nursing as a career.
Sponsored by a grant from the West Virginia Center for Nursing, the Aug. 1-3 academy offered participants insight into the field of nursing by engaging them in nursing simulation activities, hands-on experiences with registered nurses in a variety of fields, basic emergency care/first aid activities, and vital signs collection.
The students received a set of nursing scrubs, ID badge and lanyard to wear for the academy. They also received a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, personal protective equipment kit, wound care kit, first aid kit, journal and backpack.
Participants shared that their favorite part of the academy was the hands-on experiences, including a session taught by Dr. Vicki Huffman, PSC Professor. Huffman taught the students about different types of disease-causing organisms, then led them in an experiment where they cultured their cell phones on Day 1 of the academy. On Day 3, they visited the lab to view the germ growth on their petri dishes through a microscope.
Additionally, Dr. Kasey Beckman-Sirk, WVU nursing instructor, provided American Heart Association Heartsaver first aid training for the students and involved them in hands-on activities on manikins to practice their techniques.
Dr. Kasey Beckman-Sirk, WVU nursing instructor, works with Isabel Miller and Emmaleigh Bittinger on bleeding management.
Dr. Diana Niland, a WVU nursing instructor who led the Academy, and Dr. April Shapiro, WVU School of Nursing Keyser Campus Chair, provided an overview of the various entry levels of nursing, how to advance their nursing career, and how to prepare for entry into nursing school as early as middle school, progressing into high school and college. Mineral County guidance counselor, Lori Kenney, discussed courses students should take to ensure they are prepared for the nursing major.
Students also attended presentations by nurses from PVH and went on a field trip to visit nurses in their work environment, especially in the areas of emergency, operative, intensive, and med-surg care. Several nurses from the hospital participated, including Nyssa Smith (infection control and hand hygiene), Jason Liller (emergency care), Valerie Starcher (diabetes/wound care), Laura Brown (wound care), Stephanie Kidwell (operative care), Tricia Barbarito (preventive care), and Alyssa Cessna (employee health).
Jason Liller, PVH ED Manager, works with participants Samantha Knotts and Emmaleigh Bittinger in a simulation related to congestive heart failure.
The nursing academy ended with a reception and graduation ceremony, during which participants’ friends and family viewed a slide show of the activities. Students received a Nursing Academy pin, completion certificate, and t-shirt. One parent shared, “I was very impressed with this program. I appreciate the level of detail provided, including providing the kids with scrubs, the stethoscope, a graduation… what a great experience for these kids!”
The WVU School of Nursing thanks the WV Center for Nursing for funding this academy and all participants who made the event possible. A special thank you to nursing program assistant Rachel Raschella for helping with preparation of the event, nursing students Whitney Tasker and Hanna Sredy for assisting with the academy events, Fred Engle from the Candlewyck for preparing lunches for participants each day, Bob Helton from The Final Touch for expediting uniforms and tee shirts for the event, and Donna Helton and Sodexo for set-up of the graduation ceremony and reception.