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Keywords:

  • kids into health careers;
  • nursing shortage;
  • recruitment strategies;
  • rural

Abstract

Purpose: To describe a project that introduces middle school and high school students living in Pennsylvania's rural geographic regions to nursing careers through outreach extended to students regardless of gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

Method: The authors employed many strategies to inform students about careers in nursing. The methods included: working with guidance counselors, participating in community health fairs, taking part in school health career fairs, collaborating with Area Health Education Centers, serving on volunteer local education advisory boards, developing a health careers resource guide, and establishing a rural health advisory board.

Findings: Developing developmentally appropriate programs may have the potential to pique interest in nursing careers in children of all ages, preschool through high school. Publicity is needed to alert the community of kids into health care career programs. Timing is essential when planning visits to discuss health care professions opportunities with middle and high school students. It is important to increase the number of high school student contacts during the fall months. Targeting high school seniors is particularly important as they begin the college applications process and determine which school will best meet their educational goals.

Conclusions: Outcome measures to determine the success of health career programs for students in preschool through high school are needed. Evaluation methods will be continued over the coming years to assess effectiveness.