High school students experience FHSU nursing program

nurse facilitators

By Randy Gonzales
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. -- Potential future nurses were on the Fort Hays State University campus Wednesday for the Nightingale Experience. FHSU's Department of Nursing hosted 33 high school students interested in learning more about a career in nursing.

"This is to get high school students aware of what nursing actually is and get them associated with Florence Nightingale, who she was and the work she did," said Jana Zeller, associate professor of nursing.

The students first saw a film on Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. They then participated in a scavenger hunt during which they learned more about different aspects of nursing. The students went to a movie in the evening before staying overnight in one of FHSU's residence halls. On Thursday, students toured Hays Medical Center and shadowed nurses there.

"The students really enjoy it," said Natasha Werth, assistant professor of nursing. "Some of the students actually want to do it their junior and senior year because they had such a positive experience. I think they appreciate shadowing at the hospital and seeing what nurses do."

FHSU started the Nightingale Experience in 2002. Part of the special event is a hands-on exercise using different instruments a nurse would use. During Wednesday's scavenger hunt at Stroup Hall, for example, the students practiced using a stethoscope on an advanced simulation mannequin which can do everything from simulating breathing to having swollen ankles and more.

"I didn't realize you could hear the breath as it inhaled and exhaled," said Blake Harris, who will be a junior this fall at Holton High School.

Kaylee Line, a Lakin senior, is considering nursing because of her sister.

"My little sister has heart problems," Line said. "I always kind of wanted to learn more about it and become a nurse for cardiologists."

Logan sophomore Melissa Leiker is using the Nightingale Experience exactly as intended.

"I'd been kind of interested in nursing but I really didn't know much about it," Leiker said. "I decided this would be a good chance to learn more."

The students also get a chance to see the FHSU campus while learning more about the nursing curriculum.

"It gets them on campus, to experience campus life," Zeller said. "They get to experience Hays as a community, which is also nice."

The Nightingale Experience also involves student facilitators.

"It gets them into the department, and we also involve students who are in the nursing program as part of the experience," Werth said. "They get to talk with the students."

Werth is also the NGAP (Nursing Guaranteed Acceptance Program) coordinator. High school seniors can apply for the program and receive a guaranteed seat in FHSU's nursing program as long as they meet the grade point average and ACT requirements.

"I follow them all the way through and they don't have to be on a waiting list," Werth said. "We only accept 30 students every semester."

To learn more about FHSU's Department of Nursing visit www.fhsu.edu/nursing.

Cutline: Junior and senior nursing students help facilitate the 2016 Nightingale Experience for KS and CO high schoolers.

Back to top