Middle-Schoolers To Get Nursing Experience At Baylor

November 13, 2006

by Frank Raczkiewicz

About 50 students from Gaston Middle School in Dallas will tour Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to get a better understanding of the nursing field. The students, ranging in age from 12 to 14, have all indicated they are interested in the health profession. They represent the largest group ever to come to the nursing school at any one time.

"It is very important that we motivate children and adolescents to consider a career in nursing," said Valerie Trousdale, a lecturer at Baylor's nursing school who helped organize the visit. "By the year 2015, there will be a 20 percent shortage of nurses in Texas and the average age of nurses is increasing, so it is critical that more young people become nurses. By having students identify an interest in nursing in the early teenage years, they can often be involved in special programs in high school for students interested in the health professions."

The students will tour Baylor's nursing school for about two hours and will participate in a wide range of events. For the last 20 minutes of the tour, they will experience a live nursing class - Introduction to Physical Assessment - where the students will learn the "tools of the trade" of how to assess a client.

"We think by experiencing what a university nursing lecture class is like, the middle schoolers will be motivated to think that they can be successful as a nursing student," Trousdale said. "We'll talk about the importance of establishing a rapport with our clients, being effective communicators and how to obtain a health history from them."

Trousdale said David Leal, a teacher and coach at Gaston Middle School, wanted to arrange the visit after a Baylor nursing student assisted in one of Leal's health classes. Leal was so impressed with the Baylor student that he thought his students could greatly benefit by a visit to the nursing school.