A nursing club at South Waco Elementary is continuing to grow on its second year of existence.
Helen Mathews, who has been the school nurse for that campus for 18 years, started the program called Future Nurses of Tomorrow for fourth and fifth graders interested in becoming doctors or nurses in the future.
The nine students who are part of the club are learning skills, such as taking someone’s blood pressure and temperature.
"They're working on pulse and respirations. They definitely know how to wash their hands because I tell them that's one of the most important things of being a nurse is to stay healthy in order to take care of other people,” Mathews said.
Tesharme Bell, a fourth grader in the club, said nursing is one of her top choices for careers in the future.
"I decided to join because if I decide to be a nurse when I grow up I can already know the simple stuff,” Bell said.
For Mathews, students benefit from learning the skills at an early age.
"I'm thinking if that's really something they want to do, I don't think it's really too young to start them,” Mathews said.
In the past three years, the interest in nursing programs has increased in some schools in our area.
At Texas A&M University, the number of students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Nursing Program increased from 186 in 2014 to 253 in 2016.
The numbers of enrollees also increased at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, jumping from 667 in the fall of 2014 to 727 this fall.
The program at South Waco Elementary also has two more students compared to last year, which was the year it was implemented.
"It’s fun and everything. You can learn a lot of stuff,” Bell said.
Besides learning new skills, Mathews said the goal of the club is for students to use the skills in the real world.
"One of the objectives is for them to be able to help a family members or friends that may have a problem,” Mathews said.
In addition, she said she likes the goals of the students who participate in the program, like a student she had last year.
"She was from Nepal and her goal was to become a doctor, go back to her country and help her people and I thought that was awesome," Mathews said.
Mathews usually has two students at a time during the 45-minute weekly class.
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