Building Tomorrow's Nursing Workforce in Today's Elementary Classrooms

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 2:10 PM

Sandie G. Nadelson, PhD, MSN, MSED, RN
Nursing, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
Louis S. Nadelson, BS, PhD
Education, Boise State, Boise, ID
Anne L. Seifert, MS
Education, Idaho National Lab, Idaho Falls, ID

Learning Objective 1: Learner will be able to explain the need for early nursing student recruitment and ways to promote interest in healthcare.

Learning Objective 2: Learner will be able to compare four analyze factors which influence teachers' ability to teach critical thinking.


The shortage of highly qualified nurses is a global issue that relies on recruiting people into nursing programs. The shortage is a pipeline issue and recruitment needs to start early in students’ academic careers. Key to recruiting students into nursing careers is helping them learn to appreciate STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, and math) and the connection to the human body and health. However, limited knowledge of nursing and healthcare careers constrains many pre-secondary (1-8) teachers’ capacity to creatively and enthusiastically connect these topics. Our research has focused on work preparing Idaho State pre-secondary teachers to make the connections and thereby building excitement and readiness of potential health care program students. This collaborative state-wide educational effort includes a doctoral prepared nurse, educators, and industry partners. Our presentation will focus on what this group did over three years and how the program can be replicated elsewhere to enhance STEM education and awareness and knowledge of health care careers.


Over three years, summer four-day workshops were held to prepare 1-8 grade teachers how to teach STEM through the lens of the human body and health. Teachers were taught methods to make learning these concepts fun and exciting through the use of hands-on learning activities. Knowledge of the body was tested before and after the workshops. Follow up with the teachers through the next year was also conducted.


Teachers attending the workshops showed significant increases in their knowledge of the human body and ability to teach these concepts to their students. Teachers used the summer learning throughout the school year which enhanced the preparation of their students.

Conclusion: It is possible to enhance the knowledge and ability of their pre-secondary teachers. Through the partnerships, more young students can be prepared to become nurses and fill the future global needs.