With all the summer camp options across East Texas, the UT Tyler Longview University Center is giving children a chance to catch a glimpse of life as a healthcare professional. 

Nurse Camp UT Tyler Longview University Center
Nurse Camp UT Tyler Longview University Center

According to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, as the state's population continues to grow, experts predict, by 2030, 17,000 nurses will be needed in the Lone Star State, alone. That's just one of the reasons why officials at the UTT Longview University Center think a nursing camp for the younger generation is so important. 

"In 2026, the projected shortage in the U.S. is 16%, which is huge,” Deborah Crumpler, BSN Coordinator for the Longview University Center, said. "It's twice as much as the predicted shortage for other occupations."

Starting June 17, sixth graders and eighth graders will get a chance to learn what it takes to be a nurse.

"If they have any inkling that their kiddos might want to go into the health profession field, especially nursing, this would give them a hands-on, physical look at what it means to be a nurse,” Crumpler said. 

The four-day event will give campers the chance to work with multiple mannequins that can talk, blink, cough and do almost anything, except get out of bed and walk. Kids will go into one the rooms and perform health assessments, as if the patients are really sick. Students will also be able to take the mannequins' vitals.

UT Tyler Longview University Center
UT Tyler Longview University Center mannequin

"The campers will actually be able to take the stethoscope that they get and listen to [how] the lungs sound,” lab coordinator Ashley Davidson said.

In another room, nurses will control the mannequins by making them cough, slow down their heart rate or anything that could happen in a real life situation. 

"They'll be ready to be nurses practically when we get through with them,” Crumpler said. 

Areas of focus during the nursing camp include:

  • History of nursing
  • Health assessment and simulation 
  • Virtual dementia tour
  • Babysitting certification
  • 'Stop the Bleed' program 

The babysitting portion of the camp will give kids the chance to learn how to properly take care of a child. 

"It gives them an edge up [that] they can market," Janice Hawes, a nurse at the Longview University Center, said. "They learn how to write their own resume. They learn how to talk to parents, so they can get babysitting jobs. Of course, the whole program is around safety, not just for the child you're babysitting but the babysitter as well."

The camp will take place June 17 - June 20, from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the UT Tyler Longview University Center campus

Campers ages 12-15 are welcome and the cost is $225. To register, click here

A celebration ceremony will be held at the end of the week. Family members are welcome to attend.