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CMC nursing students learn what it’s like to be a kid

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – For many children, the doctor’s office is one of the scariest places on earth, on par with a darkened closet or that monster-infested space under the bed.

That’s why Colorado Mountain College’s nursing students are leaving their classrooms and venturing into local medical centers through “Pediatric Nursing,” a course they must complete before graduating from CMC’s two-year associate degree in nursing program.

The course puts student nurses directly into pediatricians’ offices in Aspen, Glenwood and Vail. They work right alongside nurses and doctors, learning valuable lessons that just can’t be read in a textbook.



Nursing student Amy Campagna of Glenwood Springs said seeing children at medical offices provides a real way to understand the mind of a child.

“They don’t know what you’re doing to them,” she said. “They don’t know why they’re sick. They often think they’ve done something wrong to make them sick. Then, when you give them shots it just scares them.”



Diane Purse, an associate professor of nursing at CMC, said the students’ hands-on experiences are invaluable.

“It’s like learning a whole other species,” Purse said.

Matthew Goodstein, M.D., a Glenwood Springs-based ear, nose and throat doctor, welcomes CMC’s nursing students to his office.

“There’s different issues in dealing with kids than with adults, medically and emotionally and psychologically to make it as non-traumatic as possible for the kids,” he said. “The students get to see what that’s all about, and I think that’s good.”

Besides working in pediatric offices and in area hospitals, student nurses attend classes in childhood development and illness as part of their “Pediatric Nursing” course. Student nurses also visit children at area elementary schools to get used to interacting with kids before they work under direct supervision of nurses and doctors treating sick children.

Goodstein is supportive of the program because it provides such real applications to nursing, and because of the nationwide nursing shortage, which is making it difficult for health care professionals to work under optimum conditions.

“Having the CMC program here is a major help, because there’s a huge nursing shortage in the country,” he said. “It’s great if we can home-grow our folks.”

Although the pediatric portion of CMC’s nursing program is one of the most challenging, it’s just one aspect of nursing the students learn during their intensive two-year program. Following completion of CMC’s associate degree in nursing, graduates are qualified to become registered nurses.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

cclick@postindependent.com


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