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Students at UNLV's Nurse Camp eager to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines

Don't shy away from hard COVID-19 conversations
Students at UNLV's Nurse Camp eager to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines
Students at UNLV's Nurse Camp eager to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-24 11:29:26-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — We've learned a lot from this pandemic, including how important our healthcare workers are. 13 Action News went to UNLV's Nurse Camp to speak with the next wave of healthcare professionals to find out how they feel about potentially caring for COVID patients.

It's hard to host a nurse camp in 2021 without talking about COVID-19. At UNLV's camp, it's part of the discussion from day one.

"We have to, number one, because we have to keep ourselves safe while we're at camp. So, we're talking about COVID all the time. But infectious disease and transmission of infection is a huge part of nursing care," said Minnie Wood, the camp's coordinator.

When students start camp, one of the first things they learn is how to properly don and doff personal protective equipment (PPE).

"We did that work with students over at our clinical simulations center. They learned how to gown up, how to put on a mask, how to put on goggles, how to put on gloves," said Wood.

Throughout the week, campers get to have candid conversations with UNLV nursing students and medical professionals at University Medical Center, and they don't shy away from hard COVID questions.

"What have been some of the challenging or difficult experiences that they've had? The campers have asked them, 'How do you cope with it? How do you manage?' So, some great conversation between campers and nursing students about what it's like to go through a nursing program during this time," said Wood.

After having these COVID conversations, some students are less sure of what they want to do in the future, or the healthcare field they want to join.

"I thought about it, and then I was like, 'dang, that is really scary' because, going into the medical field, there's that virus out there. I don't know, I'm not so sure," said Elizabeth DeAngelis, a high school student from Pahrump.

But others now have no doubt that they can't wait to join the fight on the frontlines.

"Just visiting the hospital, I've seen and noticed that there's a shortage of nurses and medical advisors, which could help the public. So, I'd love to be a part and help the community as well," said Kyle Gonzaga, a recent graduate from Bishop Gorman High School.

"We went to the hospital yesterday and I kinda felt like, 'oh my gosh, I want to help all these people.' There were certain areas we had to avoid because of COVID, and I wanted to go see them and I wanted to see what I could do. So, it just pushed me more into wanting to help people," said Samantha Howard, 17.

Most of the campers are still in high school so they still have plenty of time to decide what they want to do professionally. But the majority of the students 13 Action News talked to said they're more likely to enter the healthcare field after this camp than before.