KINGSPORT - As much as she loves nursing, not all of Karen Henderson's earliest memories of the profession are a comfort.
"Bringing in trauma patients - that was frightening with all the loud noises and things like that," Henderson said. "If I had known there was a support system there for me, those trauma cases might not have been as frightening."
As nurse recruiter for Wellmont Health System, Henderson has devised a way for new nursing school graduates - or even registered nurses who are interested in changing jobs - to test the waters at Wellmont hospitals before diving in.
"Nurses' Dream Day" will give registered nurses the chance to explore several specialties by working with a trained registered nurse in that field, all at no charge and with no commitment required.
"We have hundreds of nursing school graduates coming out in May, and we thought it would be a great way to allow them the opportunity to try us out," Henderson said.
Holston Valley Medical Center will host the event March 30 and April 13. Bristol Regional Medical Center held its event March 16 and March 19.
Several specialties will be available for exploration including critical care, medical/surgical, cardiac, emergency department, pediatrics, orthopedics and surgical services. Participants can experience two units within the hospital on their "Dream Day."
Along with the sense of clinical environment participants will get by shadowing an experienced nurse, key nursing leaders will be available to discuss the nursing support systems that have been installed throughout Wellmont to help increase confidence and competence among the nursing staff.
For instance, a Nurse Residency Program at Holston Valley and the Stepping Stones Program at Bristol Regional give new nurses tools and peer support so they can reach their full potential and, in turn, provide patients the best and safest care.
"It would have been awesome if I'd had the chance to do something like this out of nursing school," Henderson said. "I started in OB, but if I'd had the opportunity to test some of the things I was a little afraid of, it might have been a completely different career path for me. Who knows? I don't know. But at least it would have been nice to have something like this where some of the choices weren't as scary."
Registration for Nurses' Dream Day is required. To register call Henderson at 224-6457 or the Wellmont Nurse Connection at (877)230-NURSE.