The weeklong educational camp brought together high school students from across the country with that purpose in mind Monday before beginning their first set of hands-on activities the next day.
On Tuesday morning, nursing students learned how to administer IVs and draw blood from patients before learning the basics of patient care, such as how to accurately gauge patients’ vital signs.
Many of the students — some as young as 15 — already had their eyes set on a career in nursing or general medical care.
“This year, we have sophomores, juniors and seniors from high school. Some of them are not sure if they are interested in nursing, but they want to do something in the medical field,” Jo McMurray, an assistant professor of pediatric nursing, said.
Connor Morgan, a 17-year-old senior at Science Hill High School, said learning how to draw blood and administer IVs on the fake arms used to train the students was good practice for a deceptively difficult, yet common, procedure.
“It’s not as easy as you’d think. Sometimes you can’t find a vein, and if you go too deep or not deep enough, you won’t get blood,” Morgan said.
Learning how to take blood from patients was just a first step in Morgan’s career goals. He said he hopes to learn more technical medical skills in the near future.
“I want to do something interesting or exciting, like an ER doctor — something you don’t see every day. It’s interesting to me; I like crazy things,” he laughed.
On Wednesday, the nursing students will get set for a field trip to WINGS Air Rescue, and then visit Carter County EMS responders to learn more about immediate medical care.
“This gives them a hands-on chance to see the basic things that they do. We show them what really goes on,” McMurray said of the activities.
While the nursing students were learning more about the basics of patient care, engineering students were getting set to learn bridge design. On Wednesday, they will build and launch rockets they designed themselves.
Meanwhile, computer science students were learning programming using Raspberry Pi Video Streaming before beginning lessons on coding. Once the students learn more about coding, they will program robots for a panel of judges Friday.
All of these hands-on activities, according to computer professor Teresa Carter, are intended to develop critical thinking skills while teaching students new techniques and skills in their fields of interest.
Through learning skills like coding, Carter said students can witness how each individual skill allows them to do something extraordinary.
“The objective is to build those critical thinking skills, because you have to think through that. You’ve got to manipulate more than just writing code. You’ve got to manipulate electricity, different components — making one component do something it may not have been originally designed to do — and learn how to manipulate code to bring it all together,” she said.