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Junior Nursing Academy to introduce new wave of students to the field

A male nurse in blue scrubs shows students dress in their nursing coats how to secure a wound.

Last summer, more than a dozen eighth-graders scrubbed in for the first Southern West Virginia Junior Nursing Academy. They learned about careers in the nursing field. They helped deliver babies (of the plastic training variety), learned about surgery in the operating room, got certified in CPR and assisted with an emergency room patient as they stabilized her and put her on a helicopter to Charleston.

By all accounts, it was an incredible learning experience.

Now it’s back.

The Southern West Virginia Junior Nursing Academy will return to WVU Tech June 18-20, allowing another crop of potential life-savers to learn about life as a nurse.

Dr Crystal Sheaves, chair and professor of the nursing program at WVU Tech, said the day camp is a truly immersive experience.

“At the Academy, students will feel like nurses because they’ll be doing real nursing work,” she said. “We embed them in a real hospital setting with high-tech training manikins and real medical professionals so they have that true experience, and it really makes a difference. It’s a very exciting time for them as they learn about what it truly means to be a nurse.”

Students will receive their own specialized scrubs and nursing coat. They’ll learn some nursing basics, such as hospital hygiene and how to check blood pressure. Then they’ll spend some time in the ER, the OR and the delivery room – all under the guidance of real nurses and doctors in a true hospital setting.

Each student will also leave the Academy with a certification in CPR, giving them live-saving skills they can use right away.

This year’s camp is being offered free of charge. Students must be entering the eighth grade in the fall and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Applicants will also be required to write a one-page essay describing why they should attend the Academy.

Visit to find out more and apply. Academy spots are limited, so campers should apply as soon as possible.

The Academy is presented with financial assistance as a grant from the West Virginia Center for Nursing. The program is a partnership between the WVU School of Nursing at WVU Tech, Bluefield State College, Raleigh General Hospital, Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital and the Air Evac Lifeteam.