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'Explore Nursing' badge workshop draws record numbers

Submitted by Brooke Conner • Dec 17, 2018 at 10:30 AM

JOHNSON CITY - Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA) partnered with the Appalachian Consortium of Nursing Education and Practice (ACNEP) and Ballad Health to put on the largest badge workshop event in GSCSA history. More than 260 nursing volunteers made the Introduction to Nursing Badge Bash possible for over 200 Girl Scouts of all ages during the event held at the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Mini Dome from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Nov. 10.

“A nursing shortage is currently occurring in the region, our state, and nationally,” said Lisa Smithgall, Ballad Health senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “The nursing shortage is related to the increased numbers of baby boomers, both exiting the nursing profession for retirement and as this large part of the population requires more health care as they age. [Our goal] is to introduce nursing as a career choice to Girl Scouts... and present the multiple options in the career so that those girls who may not have nurses among their family or friends are aware of the rewarding opportunities of becoming a professional nurse and caring for others.”

Each Girl Scout received a custom-created “Explore Nursing” patch. They also completed the requirements for their First Aid badge and the following level-appropriate badges: My Best Self (Brownie), Staying Fit (Junior), Eating for Beauty (Cadette) and Women’s Health (Senior).

“The Girl Scouts are all about empowering women to [become] the best they can possibly be for the rest of their lives, and to be a part of that... it’s exciting,” said Sarah Cole, a 23-year-old nursing student at ETSU and event volunteer. “I wanted to be a nurse so I could love people at the most vulnerable moments of their lives; it’s truly rewarding and humbling.”

Girl Scouts rotated through 15-minute stations learning about nursing careers, what nurses do, and how to become a nurse, as well as basic first aid, caring for common health care problems, eating healthy and preventing illness. Volunteers led stations on a variety of topics, such as how to help in an emergency, using bandages correctly, nursing equipment, fighting germs, and more. There was even a dance party promoting exercise and girls could pet Lucy the therapy dog.

Volunteers came from all over the state, including King University, Tusculum University, Milligan College, Walters State Community College, Northeast State Community College, Tennessee College for Applied Technology, ETSU and Ballad Health. To learn more about becoming a Girl Scout, visit girlscoutcsa.org or call 1-800-474-1912.

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