Nursing Students Host Middle School’s Pre-Medical Science Academy

Students in the Pre-Medical Sciences Academy at L.C. Swain Middle School practiced using stethoscopes and taking vital signs during a visit to the School of Nursing lab Friday.

PBA nursing students volunteered at four stations, where their protégés participated in hands-on activities to learn about heart and lung sounds, vital signs, blood sugar monitoring and proper hand-washing techniques. Additionally, the nursing students hosted a question-and-answer session for the group of 44 curious middle school students, who arrived in their scrubs.

The School of Nursing hosts the “Day in the Life of a Nurse” event through the Nursing Consortium of South Florida.

Using a medical mannequin, PBA nursing students Rebekah Borcky and Molly Miller demonstrated how to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs. The middle school students tried their hands listening to the mannequin’s breathing sounds and then practiced on each other.

A student from L.C. Swain Middle School's Pre-Medical Sciences Academy takes her classmate's temperature under the supervision of PBA student nurses Paige Phares and Christopher Kilburn in the nursing lab for "A Day in the Life of a Nurse" on Friday, Oct. 8, 2019. The visit was through the Nursing Consortium of South Florida.Behind the curtain at the next bed over, Christopher Kilburn and Paige Phares taught the students how to check heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature. One student donned the blood pressure cuff while another took her vitals.

Throughout the day, the PBA nursing students shared about medical career paths. One group of middle schoolers asked Kilburn and Phares how much nurses get paid. 

“You’ll always have a job and you’ll always make a sustainable living,” said Phares, a student in the Doctor of Nursing practice program.

Employment for Registered Nurses is expected to rise 12 percent — much faster than average — through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

PBA nurses and Assistant Professor of Nursing Christine Conti checked each other’s blood sugar. Nursing student Olivia Mendez explained how her blood sugar rose and fell as her body processed the donut she ate that morning. Conti cautioned the students about how diet can affect overall health, especially as people age.

Some people can reverse Type 2 diabetes through diet changes, Mendez said.

“If you have it, it’s not a life sentence,” she said.

PBA nursing student Lauren Barrett shines a black light on L.C. Swain Middle School students' hands to show them the germs that lingered even after they washed up. Barrett taught them proper handwashing techniques that are important to avoid the spread of germs in healthcare settings.Lauren Barrett manned the handwashing station. The middle school students washed their hands for at least 20 seconds, or two rounds of “Happy Birthday.” Barrett shined a black light over the middle school students’ hands to show them that even though they think they’ve done a great job, there’s always that one spot they missed.

Barrett, who has worked as a certified nursing assistant for six years, gave the students parting advice.

“Are you all hoping to go into the medical field one day?” Barrett asked. “Keep pushing.”

 Photo1 : A student from L.C. Swain Middle School's Pre-Medical Sciences Academy takes her classmate's temperature under the supervision of PBA student nurses Paige Phares and Christopher Kilburn in the nursing lab for "A Day in the Life of a Nurse" on Friday, Oct. 8, 2019. The visit was through the Nursing Consortium of South Florida.

Photo 2: PBA nursing student Lauren Barrett shines a black light on L.C. Swain Middle School students' hands to show them the germs that lingered even after they washed up. Barrett taught them proper handwashing techniques that are important to avoid the spread of germs in healthcare settings.