Doctors Hospital is urging young women to become nurses.
Twenty teenage Girl Scouts from the Augusta area, including four from Columbia County, recently took part in the Scouting for the Future program designed to develop interest in nursing, said Bart Gray, the manager of volunteer services at Doctors Hospital.
Deborah Hooper, a registered nurse who started the program, had Scouts shadow nurses in the burn center, women's center, radiology and emergency room, among other departments, Gray said.
"The girls completed 64 hours of training during the program," he said. "Twenty-four hours of that is orientation, where they are given CPR and first-responder training."
The young women watched nurses and physicians treat wounds, assisted patients in filling out paperwork, brought newborns to their mothers, and helped new mothers bathe themselves, Gray said.
The Scouts were accompanied by a medical health professional at all times, he said.
The program began June 1, and all 20 Scouts graduated Sept. 30. For their participation, the teens received sashes and a certificate recognizing their participation.
"This (program) was used to generate interest in nursing because there is such a shortage of nurses," Gray said.
There is a nationwide shortage of nurses, which will only worsen as baby boomers head into retirement, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
By 2012, the nation will need 1 million new nurses to cover the gap left by retiring nurses, and the demands of an aging population and overall population growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Gray said that he received glowing reviews from the Scouts and many of their parents and intends to continue the program with the Girl Scouts. He also is considering including area Boy Scouts in a similar program next year, Gray said.
Doctors Hospital offers slots for junior volunteers ages 14 to 17 and senior volunteers 18 and up, Gray said. These slots do not receive the 24-hour orientation course, but volunteer help is needed and accepted year-round, he said. For more information, contact Gray at 651-3232.
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