Achieving Outstanding Outcomes in Recruitment of High Schoolers to a High School Summer Camp: Structure and Process Considerations
Once again, the US nursing workforce is facing a severe shortage of professionals. Retiring nurses, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, technology, and the expanding role of the RN have increased the need for nurses. In Nebraska, nearly 4,000 RNs will are needed by 2020 to address this shortage. Because the opportunities for employment for high schoolers who are considering career choices are so broad, reaching out to diverse high school students to attract them to nursing is essential. Furthermore, recent studies have indicated that many high schoolers, as well as high school counselors, are not aware of the role that RNs play in the US health care system. To address the need to reach out to high school students from diverse backgrounds, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing (UNMC CON) developed a summer camp for students in the Northern Division Campus located in Norfolk. Funded by Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), the Generation Link to Learn Grant (LTL) links high schoolers from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to nurse mentors, nursing student mentors, and adult relatives/guardians so that students have role models of success as they consider a career in nursing. During the two-day summer camp, campers actively learn about the role of the RN in today's health care arena. Activities serve to excite campers as they experience various aspects of the nurse's role for future success in a college of nursing program of study. In addition, interactions with nursing students help the high school summer camper understand educational expectations that are a normal part of learning the RN role. This paper discusses structure, process, and outcome factors that are essential for the creation of a successful high school summer camp for educationally disadvantaged learners who are interested in a career in nursing.