Nurturing Next Gen Nurses

Nurse Camp

Thirty-six aspiring health care professionals representing every high school in Solano County graduated from the 13th annual NorthBay Nurse Camp, June 20 to 23.

Selected from a field of more than 75 applications, students spent two days on the NorthBay VacaValley Hospital campus and two days at NorthBay Medical Center, learning what it takes to be a nurse.

Nurse Camp was led by Laurel Nielson, R.N. and Amy Ciraulo, R.N. Many NorthBay nurses from several hospital departments generously share their time and talents to give the teens a realistic experience.

One of the most popular events is a visit to NorthBay Medical Center's surgery department, where the teens don sterile garb to enter a surgical suite to examine items under a microscope and practice laparoscopic surgery on a melon. Nurse Ambassador Abbie Hoag, R.N., watched as two teens' faces lit up in amazement and delight as one successfully pulled a melon seed from the “body.”


“It's just unprecedented that teens get the chance to handle equipment like this,” she said. “I'm so proud to be part of an organization that supports opportunities like Nurse Camp.” In addition to teaching at Nurse Camp, Abbie hosts the Nursing Club at Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville.

On the first day, the students jumped right into hands-on experiences as they learn to suture wounds, give injections (to oranges), start IVs (on simulation models) and practice CPR. On the second day, spent in the VacaValley Hospital Emergency Department, the teens learn about casting and splinting by applying soft casts to each other's arms and witness a mock trauma. Later that day, they got a look at emergency medicine in the field, thanks to REACH Medical Helicopter and the Vacaville Fire Department.

The camp is part of NorthBay Nurse Academy, which began in 2003 as a way to reach out to high school students and expose them to careers in nursing.

Nurse camp surgery simulation