Nightingale Experience gives potential nursing students hands-on, unique opportunity

Approximately 40 students from 18 different high schools arrived at Lamar University June 10-11 for the 19th annual Nightingale Experience — a unique two-day event in partnership with CHRISTUS Health St. Elizabeth that allows participants to get an inside look into the nursing profession and the LU nursing program.

Funded by CHRISTUS Health for the last 19 years, the Nightingale Experience is a two-day event hosted by the JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing of the College of Arts and Sciences for high school students who are interested healthcare as a career choice, according to Dishman School of Nursing Instructor and Nightingale Experience Project Manager Shannon Marsh. Nightingale Experience

High school counselors, teachers and principals nominate exceptional students who are interested in nursing.

Students who are selected spend the first day at Lamar University learning hands-on nursing skills, playing games and learning about nursing and the nursing program. The students spend the night in the campus dorms and then spend their second day at CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth touring their facility and doing more hands-on activities.

“It is a group effort with the hospital, Lamar University and the local high schools. Our nursing school and local hospitals have so much to offer students who want to be nurses, and this event really showcases that,” Marsh said. “Additionally, what I really appreciate about the experience is the current nursing students working as small group leaders and skills leaders. We have about a 1:3 high school student to nursing student ratio. The small groups really help provide a personal experience for each student!

"Every student gets to participate in the activities! The skills they learn include IV start, injections, foley catheter insertion, CPR, nasogastric tube insertion and several others. They even participate in a labor and delivery simulation! It is really a lot of fun and gets even the ‘shy’ high school students involved.”

Nightingale ExperienceParticipants also get an inside look into the Dishman School of Nursing, touring the facilities, learning the skills and discovering more about LU’s admissions process. At CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth, students get an idea of the variety of job opportunities nurses have.

“This year, one high school student said, ‘On TV, you just see nurses at the bedside, but I didn’t know that nurses can work in other areas, too!’ It helps students who may be on the fence about nursing decide that this is really what they want to do and Lamar University is really where they want to go,” Marsh said. “We know many nurses who attended this event as a high school student, helped as a student leader while they were at LU as a nursing student and are now nurses at CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth and other hospitals! I do not know of another event like this.”

For more information about the Nightingale Experience, visit