Teaching the next generation of nurses

CARRIERE, Miss. (WLOX) – When many of us think of career and technical training in high school, we think of shop classes, wood working and electrical… but that’s not all some schools have to offer.

Pearl River Central High is exposing students to the reality of the health care profession, in order to save students time and money in college. In today’s “In Their Shoes,” we meet Jennifer Spence- a teacher who’s making a real hands-on difference in the health care community by showing the next generation of nurses how it’s done.

Jennifer has been a nurse for 26 years, and a teacher at Pearl River Central High for 11. She attended the same school herself, and so did her kids.

Her classroom looks nothing like a normal English or Math classroom; one side contains desks, while the other looks like a mini hospital!

“We teach them about taking care of a patient in the bed, how we change the sheets when a patient’s in the bed, how do we move a patient up in the bed,” Spence said. “I’m teaching these high school students things that I didn’t learn until I was in nursing school.”

One cool feature of the room is a brand new, college-level mannequin students use to simulate an assessment on a real patient- from the safety and familiarity of the classroom.

“He breathes, we can listen to breath sounds, we can listen to his heartbeat, we can listen to abdominal sounds. We can take his pulse, we can take his blood pressure. And actually, I can take a little mic and simulate him talking,” Spence said. “This is such a gift to have on the high school level.”

Spence tells us the most rewarding part of her job is spotting former students out in the health care community. She says she’s teaching people who will one day take care of her.

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