Nursing students connect with 4th graders

(The Spectrum) Nursing students connected with area fourth-grade students over the weekend to increase interest in knowledge and nursing. Nearly 30 fourth-grade students from around the area attended the event Saturday afternoon.

“We’re really hoping that it sparks an interest for nursing and that it helps them understand the world of a nurse, whether they be a patient or with someone in the hospital,” Karla Haug, assistant professor in nursing and faculty adviser for the Student Nurses’ Association, said. “Or that [the event] will someday inspire the next nurse.”

“[As] nurses, one of our huge roles is to be an educator [and] teach people about their health,” Katy Duval, president of the student nurse association board, said. “This is just another way, as students, that we actually get to do it and promote it.”

Students had the opportunity to engage in a variety of stations at Adventures in Nursing at NDSU. The stations taught students how to properly wash their hands, how to listen to the heart and lungs, how to take blood pressure and how to find pulses.

“Students have parents, family and friends who are nurses, [but] some have never heard much about nursing before,” Haug said. “There is a wide range of interest from the students.”

Students additionally learned about asthma and geriatrics, conditions that may affect those around them such as classmates and grandparents.

The biggest hit of the day, according to Ashley Heller, a senior majoring in nursing, was the lifts. It showed the students how patients are lifted into their beds and provided them an opportunity to control a machine used by nursing students in labs.

“Kids are eager to learn, and they like to do the lifts,” Duval said. “They are so excited to be doing that and just all the games that we do … they’re really eager to learn,” Heller said.

Many of the students came from rural-area schools within a 30-mile radius of the Fargo-Moorhead area, including schools such as Breckinridge and Ada-Borup. Haug says it was great to be able to give students from rural areas an opportunity that isn’t offered as often as it is in F-M schools.

The event was sponsored by SNA, the Department of Nursing and the North Dakota Partners in Nursing Gerontology Consortium Project. The idea for the event originated from Dickinson State University. Faculty and students involved with SNA collaborated with the university to develop the event at NDSU.

“We decided this would be a great idea for our organization to get involved in,” Haug said. “We looked at what Dickinson did, what we wanted to do and organized our day according to what we wanted.”

Dickinson has had success in pervious camps put on for fourth- and fifth-grade students, with up to 75 students attending.

Members of SNA are also involved with the Expanding Your Horizons event, which is aimed at students in 7th and 8th grade. Heller says they didn’t want to target the same age group.

“It’s good practice for us, just as much as the kids are learning, we’re probably learning, too,” Heller said.

“It is just good experience, having to plan this event. It helps you be that role model image that we should be for these guys.”