Ayienne Waring is only 14 years old but already she knows she wants to be a nurse.
"When my little cousins get cuts and bruises, I'm always the one to put the alcohol and bandages on them," she said.
Ayienne is one of 12 Charleston County students who are about to start high school and who are enrolled in a three-day nursing camp at the Medical University of South Carolina this week.
The camp is a joint program between MUSC and the Charleston County School District. It's designed to help students learn early what's involved in careers in health care and what they must do in high
school to prepare for such careers. Coordinators hope it will inspire some to become nurses and put a dent in the nationwide nursing shortage.
Yvonne Martin, MUSC's nurse outreach and retention coordinator, said the camp, which is in its sixth year, teaches students practical skills. They learn how to take vital signs, change the dressing on a wound and do oxygen therapy, she said.
On Wednesday, the camp's second day, the students received CPR training.
Brandy Jacques, 14, said she knows she wants to do something in the medical field.
The camp has been a great opportunity and she's been having a great time, she said. She also said she's impressed that the students are getting exposure to real medical training. The skills lab where the students learned hands-on techniques is the same lab where medical students get training, she said.
Waring said the camp has driven home to her that she must work hard in high school if she wants to reach her goal. "Science and math, those are the two you need to focus on," she said.
Jodi Bateman, a team associate from the school district's School-to-Careers program, said the students also are learning about career opportunities for nurses.
"You can go anywhere. You can live anywhere in the world and be a nurse," she said.