By Sharon I. Richie, PhD | School of Nursing Director
Each year, the Undergraduate School of Nursing offers two programs called Nurse Academy Days. One program is for high school students across the state, who are interested in careers in one of the health care professions. For last year’s event, we proudly welcomed over 100 students to this two-day event. Much to our surprise, that Nurse Academy Day event helped sway prospective students who were wavering about whether to apply to Norwich University. We recently saw the fruits of our labor when 10 projected incoming freshman (class of 2019) returned this spring for the second, personalized, two-day Nurse Academy Day II program.Nurse Academy Day II welcomed our students on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, with a Wise Campus Center luncheon with faculty, students and Admissions staff. Afterwards we adjourned to my “parlor” for an overview of our four-year program. As prospective nurses admired the photos on my wall, I explained how each related to my 26-year career as an Army Nurse Corps officer and three extra years of service as the Chief Nurse of the United Arab Emirates Military Health Care System. That discussion led to the variety of careers made possible with four-year Bachelor of Science degree from Norwich University followed by a master’s of science. With those tools, students could become a nurse anesthetist, a family nurse practitioner, a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, etc.
The afternoon sessions included a lecture, “The Coordinator of Care” by Professor Kate Healy and a demonstration class, where current Norwich nursing students enacted “Simulations of Clinical Practice” with Professor Llynne Kiernan. Overawed by the skills demonstrated, incoming students had a chance to talk privately with a panel of freshman students on the topic of “What Really Happens Here and Can We Do This?” Much calmer after the panel, the incoming students had dinner together and returned to the school for an evening presentation open to all entitled, “So you Want to be a Flight Nurse.” We were honored to host a return visit by United States Army Reserve Colonel Christopher O’Connell, who previously spoke about his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a nurse. This time he spoke about his “day” job as the trauma nurse for Dartmouth-Hitchcock and showed photos of some of his most daring rescues. Afterwards he received a standing ovation, not only for his outstanding presentation but to wish him well on his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in June 2015 as the Deputy Commander of Medical Operations for the 3rd Mobility Command Desert Support (MCDS).
The second day of the Nursing Academy II program was a morning filled with a lecture on “Promoting Healthy Communities” by Professor Lisa Hardy and a different simulation demonstration with Professor Kate Healy. Our “Simulation Woman” awed our new students with her ability to talk and then have a heart attack. Needless to say, our incoming students are ready to get started right now. They told me they especially appreciated the warm welcome from our current students