Last Tuesday marked the beginning of the first Nursing Bootcamp to take place at AU. Students and faculty from the School of Nursing and Kinesiology gathered in Hartung Hall on the morning of Aug. 21 to kick off four days of experiential learning, networking and community building.
Students were able to practice performing nursing duties such as testing for vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse and temperature. There were also sessions in time and stress management as well as a handy demonstration of proper hand-washing techniques for healthcare professionals.
The bootcamp was also an opportunity for seniors to guide underclassmen. There was a panel of upperclassmen nursing students who took questions from students who are new to the program.
On the first night of the bootcamp, Nancy Pitcock spoke to the students about the ways in which nursing has both changed and remained the same since she began her career in the 70s. Pitcock, who was voted the best nurse in Madison County in 2009, is a former chief nursing officer at Saint John’s Medical Center where she worked for more than 30 years.
Dr. Lynn Schmidt, the dean of the School of Nursing and Kinesiology, says she has observed the students growing in confidence as a result of gaining practical experience and that the camp was also an opportunity to build community between students and faculty.
“It was learning in a safe environment,” says Schmidt. “Sometimes you do the right thing for the wrong reasons. We wanted the students to be able to make mistakes in a risk-free environment.
“The focus was not only on skills, but on developing community between the students and the nursing faculty. We were able to meet each other. We laughed, played games and shared meals and stories. We got to know each other sooner than we would have otherwise.”
Griffin Davidson, a sophomore nursing major, gained confidence in his abilities and grew comfortable with the students and staff as a result of his Nursing Bootcamp experience.
“The nursing staff were so helpful in teaching us these new skills and letting us practice for hours until we felt confident,” says Davidson. “I think that this bootcamp prepared me more than anything else would have, and I feel very confident about my first clinical.
“The faculty also did a great job of being professional but also fun and goofy, which helped us students relax a little.”
Brian Kaufman, a junior nursing major who also attended Nursing Bootcamp, learned a lot from the opportunity and was able to form connections with the other attendees.
“In the four days at Nursing Bootcamp I learned the need-to-know basics for nursing students,” he says. “I experienced hands-on how to perform skills that most nursing students do not have at my level.
“Aside from teaching vital information that will help me throughout the academic career, the bootcamp gave me a chance to connect with the students and faculty.”
Students in the nursing program can apply to the Nursing Bootcamp at the end of their freshman year. Applicants are required to obtain a GPA of 3.2 and earn a C in anatomy, physiology and general psychology.