Nursing Students Get Pediatric Practice

"When you're outside on the playground, you know there's dirt out there. And dirt equals germs," a visiting nurse told a group of children at Westminster Academy in Gulfport.

Nursing students from USM practiced their communication and care giving with some very young patients.

"You're mommy painted your nails? She did a really good job," said Richard Moore, to a smiling kindergarten student.

Caring for children is an especially important lesson for Moore. He plans to specialize in pediatrics.

"I had a really great father who is also a nurse. So, I learned a lot about it from him. And growing up, I saw him going through school and learned a lot about it from him and visiting him in the hospital, kind of going with him to work sometimes. And I found in my own life, it was really something I was interested in," he explained.

"The health care system always needs nurses. Not just for specifically nursing care, but also for education and research. And to improve the practice of nursing," said Katie Toche from Biloxi.

She's the class president. And although Toche enjoys this chance to work with kids, her speciality will involve the extreme opposite age group: Geriatrics.

"I just feel like that age group is so important to take care of. And so important to love. And so important to recognize, because they are forgotten sometimes," she says.

"Here we go. Are you ready? Do they fit good?" Terry Vann asked a youngster, while preparing her for a hearing test.

Nursing is a second career for the former military pilot.  Vann plans to specialize in critical care.

"Both of them are mental work and I enjoy that. And if I hadn't gone into pilot training, I probably would have done something in medicine or nursing beforehand," he said.

Nursing students we talked with say while the prospective pay is certainly nice, the bigger rewards are the opportunities for making a difference in people's lives.