TEN Helped This Nurse Zero in on Career in Nursing
Alison Kirchgesner, like most high school students, wasn’t sure what job she wanted to pursue after high school, but a Memorial Medical Center initiative helped her zero in on a nursing career.
“I knew back then I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I was on the fence about nursing at the time,” the 24-year-old said.
A guidance counselor told her about Memorial’s Teens Experiencing Nursing (TEN) Camp, a free summer camp for high school students interested in a nursing career. Students have the opportunity to job shadow and interact with nursing staff on several nursing units throughout Memorial.
Kirchgesner attended TEN Camp during the summer of 2009 when she was a student at Glenwood High School in Chatham. Today, she is a registered nurse at Memorial Medical Center serving on the day shift on 7C ICU.
Now in its 14th year, TEN Camp has expanded to two of the health system’s hospitals and will involve nearly 50 teenagers. Memorial Medical Center’s TEN Camp will be held July 13-16 with 31 enrolled campers – 29 girls and two boys. And Taylorville Memorial Hospital will hold its first TEN Camp from July 7-9 with 18 campers – 17 girls and one boy.
After TEN Camp, Kirchgesner attended Illinois State University in Normal to earn her bachelor of science degree in nursing. Between her junior and senior years, she interned at Memorial Medical Center over the summer, working about two weeks on each of the ICU floors.
Kirchgesner, who has two older cousins and an aunt who are nurses, said TEN Camp opened doors for her to begin her nursing career. Applying for TEN Camp was “like interviewing for a job.”
For high schoolers interested in the medical field, “TEN Camp is a great way to decide if nursing is a good fit for them,” Kirchgesner said. “It provides a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience.”
Thanks to her TEN Camp and internship experiences, Kirchgesner said, “I knew Memorial was a place where I would like to work.”