Nurses at Weakley County High Schools Model Career Options
(WEAKLEY COUNTY) — At two Weakley County High Schools, students interested in healthcare as a career choice have guides to help them determine what could be next. Both guides are licensed registered nurses.
Carolyn Glover teaches Health Sciences at Westview. Lauren Wilkins is at Dresden High School. Both have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Tennessee at Martin. And both believe that living through a pandemic will forever change what they do and the medical field.
“Everything is going to relate back to this event,” explained Wilkins in a phone interview. As an example she pointed to how previous instruction on proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has focused on how to put on and take off gowns, masks and gloves for each patient. In the future, students will be able to connect that classroom experience with the current sense of urgency related to finding sufficient PPE for those combating the COVID-19 crisis.
She also noted that students are seeing some very vivid illustrations each day of the kind of commitment a career in the medical field requires.
“They are going to have to answer the question of whether they are cut out for this,” she explained. “What we are seeing is that health care workers are more than health care providers. They are sitting with patients who would otherwise be alone. They are being the family who can’t be with them, holding hands, hearing final words.”
In a separate interview, Glover agreed that she would be spending even more time on infection control in her classes.
She also spoke to the scope of health care workers that are involved in COVID-19 response.
“While the doctors and nurses are getting a lot of attention,” she said, “they are surrounded by a team – housekeeping, dietary, laboratory, x-ray, diagnostics, respiratory therapy – all of the disciplines are essential and valued.”
A self-described advocate for vocational options such as those in the Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway of Health Sciences, Glover explains that she has worked in many of the arenas her students may opt for. She was an LPN for 13 years before receiving her BSN. She worked as a maternity nurse on an as needed basis throughout her teaching career. She’s been at Westview for 23 years.
Wilkins spent time in pediatrics and brings experiences at both a hospital and clinic to her classroom instruction. This year she completed her third year at Dresden.
Currently, Westview offers introduction to Health Sciences, nursing, and medical therapeutics. Dresden’s offerings include those classes as well as anatomy and physiology. Students in the health sciences pathway can take classes that will help them later pursue a Certified Nursing Assistant certification. Each school provides CPR certification.
Among their other responsibilities, Glover and Wilkins also serve as the advisor for their campus HOSA – Future Health Professionals, the organization that offers hands-on learning experiences. HOSA members assist with blood drives, sports physicals, and health screenings.
Glover and Wilkins are two of the twelve nurses on Weakley County Schools’ campuses. The other ten provide direct care to students. National School Nurse Day is Wednesday, May 6.