June 29, 2023
Boca Ciega High School Center for Wellness and Medical Professions student Andrea Leon Perez wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps.
She recently went through the Pinellas Technical College’s Practical Nursing program and is a working nurse at Morton Plant Hospital.
“I want to be an RN,” said Leon Perez, who is one of nine students attending the PTC nursing camp this summer. “I want to make my family proud.”
According to Gerry Connors, co-chair of the nursing department at PTC and head of the camp, the two-week program is designed for students to gain early nursing knowledge to help them decide if a career in nursing is the right path. The participants are doing everything from live dissection classes to wound care to anatomy, physiology and technology in nursing, he said. They’ve even had an infant swaddling competition and wheelchair relay races.
“Nursing camp is a really exciting two weeks for us,” Connors said. “This fundamental program is so important to a strong start in the field.”
Rachel Neiswender, who will be a senior at Osceola Fundamental High School, hopes to become an LPN by her second year of college. She has enjoyed learning how to care for newborns in the NICU, particularly since she is interested in pediatrics.
“I plan to hop around to see what interests me most,” Neiswender said of the medical field. “I love the idea of being able to help my community.”
Connors said the group has been engaged, interested and having a lot of fun.
“Nurses are pivotal in the health care equation. They’re the constant in the patient’s world,” Connors said. “I hope they leave here with a sense of accomplishment that inspires them to consider a career in nursing.”