By Mandi Enger
Applying their pediatric knowledge and skills in a real-world setting, a group of Nevada State College (NSC) nursing students joined the medical staff team at the annual Nevada Diabetes Association (NDA) Camp Vegas on March 26. Supervised by School of Nursing Dean Sherrilyn Coffman, the volunteers assisted the NDA by monitoring blood sugar levels and insulin injections for campers age 6-14; and by providing necessary first aid and supervision during camp activities.
The NDA offers Camp Vegas each year in support of children, youth, and families living with diabetes. During the weeklong event, campers take part in arts and crafts and outdoor activities while also learning how to manage type 1 diabetes. Campers are taught how to check their blood sugar levels prior to meals, count the number of carbohydrates consumed during meals, and take the appropriate amount of insulin afterwards.
Held just outside of Las Vegas at Mt. Potisi, the 2013 camp was held March 25-29. This year, NSC camp volunteers included students in the part-time nursing program: Christabell Alquizalas, Ellen Kim, and Estelle DeMesa; regular track student Abigail Atfield; as well as pre-nursing student Aaron Rosenbaum.
Volunteering is a great way to get more hands-on experience as a nursing student, shared Alquizalas. It’s great because it lets you provide patient care that differs from the traditional hospital setting. The environment is completely different, so it gives you a different perspective of care.
Alquizalas plans to complete her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in May 2013 and has volunteered at Camp Vegas for two years in a row. You can really tell that these kids and their counselors have formed a cohesive family bond and it is nice to see such a great support system, she continued.
Nursing student volunteers work closely with Coffman and the camp’s medical staff and must have knowledge of diabetes care including different insulin types, regimens, and injection methods.
Our students were responsible for reviewing doctor’s insulin orders, providing campers with the appropriate insulin pen, monitoring injections, and documenting when shots were completed, said Coffman. Camp Vegas is a great opportunity for our students to enhance their nursing skills and experience with patients while also becoming active in serving our community.
Coffman helped found the NDA Southern Board in 2002 and currently serves at the Secretary of both the Southern Board and the State Board. From 1999 through 2012, she additionally served as the camp’s head nurse.