In a day that is both career exploration and university recruitment, Pittsburg State University’s nursing students showed high school students what nursing careers can entail.

Nursing Career Day ran throughout the morning and early afternoon and was hosted by students and faculty at the Irene Bradley School of Nursing

"Basically, since it’s high school career day, we’re just showing them what nursing school looks like," said Brooke McNerlin, one of 74 PSU nursing students who helped facilitate the event.

"It also provides them the opportunity to ask questions about college or nursing school," she continued.

For professors, it is a chance to take pride in what their students have learned.

"It’s amazing as I walked around and listened to them talking," said Kristi Frisbee, an assistant professor of nursing. "It’s, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s me talking.’"

She said as she listened to her students she heard how they had absorbed all that they have learned throughout the program.

"We’re influencing the next generation of nurses," Frisbee said.

The student-led, hands-on day of exploring nursing careers has gone over well with students, and brought a record turnout of high school interest this year.

"We do have a 50 percent increase in attendance this year," Frisbee said.

"From past years, the students really liked the hands-on," said Judy Coltharp, an instructor in the nursing program. "What we tried to accomplish this year was to give them more time of hands-on."

Rich and Shawna Deviney, both PSU alumni, drove from Winchester, in Northeast Kansas, with their daughter Bailee so that she could explore the School of Nursing.

"She’s already been admitted and gotten a couple scholarships," said Shawna, and Rich said Bailee became interested in the healthcare field when she decided to work toward donating a gallon of blood between turning 16 and graduation.

Aaron Pyle, a junior from Girard High School, said he had enjoyed the opportunity to try out some nursing applications.

"It’s been really fun," he said. "I’ve learned a lot."

Pyle said he had learned CPR, how to walk with canes and walkers and how to use respirators, and added that the CPR was probably his favorite.

He said he knows that men are still a minority in the field of nursing, but said he enjoyed meeting the guys in the nursing program and looks forward to the potentials there.

"Since there’s less guys, I think it’s wide open for guys," Pyle said.

PSU students Zach Lovell and Taylor Morriss agreed, and said they were excited to recruit all students who came through, but especially guys.

"We’re definitely in the minority," Morriss said, adding that ongoing recruitment is helping to change the stereotypes.

Lovell added that men in the nursing field tend to be drawn toward the emergency rooms or other situations that may involve more pressure and adrenaline.

Regardless, students were eager to share their experience at Pittsburg State with high school students.

"The kids are fun," said Connor Jones. "Everything we’ve taught them they are able to regurgitate."

Professors said the leadership and teaching is part of the goal.

"They do it for their leadership course, and what it allows them to do is step up to the leading role," Coltharp said.

Frisbee said this is a trend throughout medicine.

"The Institute of Medicine, one of their catchphrases is ‘every nurse a leader,’" Frisbee said. "This really offers them the opportunity to step up."

And nursing students are eager to step up to the challenge of nursing school at PSU.

"It’s fun," McNerlin said. "I remember being a freshman or sophomore and looking at the red scrubs. I thought, ‘I can’t wait to get my red scrubs.’"