Posted: July 28, 2017
As the demand for baccalaureate- and doctorally-prepared nurses steadily rises across health care systems, the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Pipeline Program is working to positively affect the distribution and increase the number of health care providers in the Commonwealth.
The program, established in 2005, places students interested in pursuing careers in health professions alongside clinicians in rural and underserved communities.
“The Area Health Education Center helps support, recruit and retain the best health care educators and students in our region,” says University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto.
One critical component of the program is its Summer Health Career Camps for juniors and seniors in high school. The camps allow them to network with professionals from a variety of medical fields and gain a deeper understanding of their job duties and responsibilities. Students have the option of participating in the Summer Enrichment Camp, which lasts four weeks, or the Health Researchers Youth Academy, which lasts two weeks.
One College of Nursing undergraduate, Laurel Enix, was lucky enough to discover her passion for nursing through the three-week camp.
“I went into the camp not knowing what I wanted to do, but I knew I liked science,” says Enix, “I was shadowing at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and it was then that I decided to go into nursing. It seemed like a really good way to help others, and there are so many options and paths I can pursue in the field.”
Enix, a sophomore nursing student in the traditional BSN program, now serves as a resident advisor for the summer camp to guide high school students going through a similar experience.
“The camp helped me a lot in deciding what I wanted to do as I got older,” says Enix. “It definitely gave me connections I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Enix, from Lewis County in northeastern Kentucky, plans to pursue a career in public health nursing upon graduation in fall 2021.
“Laurel came to the College of Nursing prepared, already with a background in interdisciplinary education,” says Janie Heath, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, dean and Warwick Professor of Nursing. “This is a wonderful opportunity for high school students and we’re glad the university is investing in the health of Kentuckians.”
For more information on AHEC, click here.