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Nurse Campers Jump into Activities

Posted: July 10, 2019

One day after NorthBay saluted its nearly 500 area high school students who have graduated from NorthBay Healthcare’s popular Nurse Camp over the past 15 years, a whole new cohort of Nurse Camp students rolled up their sleeves and got busy on a host of educational activities. They prodded a lamb’s heart, drilled screws into broken bones and threaded catheters and stents into arteries. They put on plaster casts, participated in a mock trauma and learned how to “stop the bleed.” Throughout all, the students proved to be attentive, eager and ready to go all-in, according to Laurel Nielson, clinical nurse leader and Nurse Camp organizer.   

The students seemed to know how fortunate they were to be able to participate, as well. Only 36 were selected to join the four-day camp, even though 110 applied, Laurel explained.

“This is a great opportunity for people to be exposed to the medical field and to help them to know what they want to do in the future,” said Jacqueline Ramirez, a junior at Vanden High School, just after she participated in a laparoscopic exercise in Surgery.

“I want to be an orthopedic surgeon and I am so glad I had the opportunity to do that orthopedic station,” said Ciera Howse, a junior at Vacaville High School, after she went through an exercise to clean out a wound and drill a bone in Surgery.

The students weren’t the only ones to realize how special being part of the NorthBay Nurse Camp opportunity is, observed Karen Morin, R.N. with NorthBay’s 1600 unit, and one of several team leaders escorting the students through their activities.

“We nurses have to earn the right to be part of Nurse Camp, and I think it’s an honor,” Karen said. “We’ve been going to the high schools once a month for the whole school year to do presentations, on such things as hands-only CPR, or to talk about flu prevention. NorthBay has so many community programs and gives back in so many ways, and this is one way NorthBay invests in our youth.”

Through the four-day camp, the students also spent time learning about Labor & Delivery, fetal monitoring and care for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, allowed themselves to be strapped onto back boards or into Sara Steady lifts and sutured a lamb’s heart.

At the conclusion of the four-day event, the students spent some time reflecting on what they experienced.  

“One told me that it was  more fun than going to Disneyland,” reported Amy Ciraulo, R.N., one of the camp leaders, while others commented that it was a “life-changing opportunity, Laurel added.