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Fourth-Annual UW Nurse Camp: creating collegiate opportunities for minority and low-income high school students


Date: June 19, 2012
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin,, 206-221-2456

The University of Washington School of Nursing hosts fourth annual student-led Nurse Camp June 25-29. The free day camp is designed for underprivileged and underrepresented high school juniors and sophomores interested in exploring the nursing profession and preparing themselves to pursue a college degree. This camp is made possible by the generous contributions of the school’s faculty, staff and students, as well as local community groups and businesses, who have donated to support the camp’s commitment to diversifying nursing. 

“It’s inspiring that everyone at the school has come together to support this effort and to help make this happened for the future of nursing,” said Carolyn Chow, School of Nursing Director of Admissions and Multicultural Student Affairs.

Across the nation, experts predict a nursing shortfall in 2018 that will grow to about 260,000 nurses by 2025.[1] Nurse Camp‘s main goal is to provide a pipeline to college for minority and low-income students in the Puget Sound.

“We want to give students unique opportunities and the chance to explore the myriad of options available in the nursing profession, all within the context of a safe and supportive environment that is geared towards facilitating student success and helping them to envision their academic and professional futures,” said Chow, who is also the advisor of the DAwGs group.

The idea for Nurse Camp came out of the School of Nursing’s Diversity Awareness Group (DAwGs), comprised of minority nursing students, alumni and allies. Their desire to better create community and inclusion for underrepresented communities in healthcare motivated them to create this free camp for students. Out of 123 applicants, this year’s participants include 24 students, all of which are from underrepresented or underserved populations including three males.

“Nurse Camp gave myself and others confidence in allowing us to shadow, one on one, professional nurses instead of simply volunteering," one participant from a previous camp offered as feedback. “"It was the most productive and fun thing I did all summer. It was truly amazing - my entire college essay was centered on Nurse Camp.”

Activities at the camp include a first day crash course for hospital staff including first aid, CPR, HIPPA, hand washing, infection control and technology in health care. The “Organ Lady,” SoN Alumna and current graduate student Colleen McElroy-Williams will give campers an inside look at real human organs. The campers spend the rest of the week shadowing nurses at the University of Washington Medical Center, practicing nurse skills in the learning lab, and discovering different nurse specialties in a nursing "speed date" where campers meet and talk with nurses working in all areas of health care, from forensic and public health to emergency and research. On the final day, attendees will learn about applying to college and understanding financial aid as well as a celebratory closing ceremony with family and friends.


Members of the media are invited to schedule visits to Nurse Camp 2012 as well as interview coordinators and participants. Please contact Ashley Wiggin at (206)221-2456 to make arrangements.

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 Full PDF schedule:

[1] Buerhaus, Auerbach, and Staiger, Health Affairs, June 12, 2009

The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently a top-ranked nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit