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The Nursing Exploration Patch

In September 2001, the American Nurses Association, National Student Nurses Association, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Boy Scouts of America, and other groups joined forces in developing a new merit badge, “The Nursing Exploration Patch.”

The patch program provides a framework, information, and suggested activities that facilitate and promote interest in nursing as well as an opportunity to learn about healthy choices and living styles. “We hope girls will use the information to consider nursing as a career choice and to improve their lifestyle by making healthy choices,” says Becky Hodges, Program Manager, with the Girl Scouts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to the February 2004, Volume 2 issue of Nurse Leader, the nursing badge criteria were developed by Cheryl LaCasse, MS, RN, OCN-R, Chris May, RN, BSN, and Lucia Esparza, RN, BSN. To earn the nursing badge, the criteria begins with different developmental groups: Brownies (1st – 3rd graders); Juniors (4th – 6th graders); and Cadettes/Seniors (7th – 12th graders). Each group must complete a number of requirements in order to earn the patch.

For example, at the Brownie level, they are asked to learn about the founder of nursing, Florence Nightingale; or talk to three nurses and find out what they do and why they like being a nurse and then share what they have learned with their troop; participate in a health education class at school or in their community and share what they learned with their troop to name a few.

At the Junior level, a few of the requirements are: Talk to a nursing student and find out what the educational requirements are for becoming a nurse and share what they learned with their troop; or use a computer to learn about nursing. Go to www.discovernursing.com or www.nsna.org and share what they learned with their troop; or demonstrate how to take a blood pressure and a pulse.

At the Cadette/Senior levels, they are asked to visit a hospital, clinic, or other area where nurses work. Observe what nurses do, who they work with, what equipment they use, and how they interact with people. Describe a nurse’s role in a specialty area and write a summary of what they observed and learned.

Margaret Craig, member of the Coalition for Nursing Careers in California (CNCC) and Associate Dean for Nursing at Napa Valley College, says, “I think the need to work with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts as they explore career options for the future is a wonderful opportunity to reach many young people while they are open to many possibilities.” Craig presented an overview of The Nursing Exploration Patch at the 2003 Deans and Directors meeting in Monterey and brought to CNCC an opportunity to partner with the Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area.

Even though the target group was initially for girls, according to the article, “Preparing for our Future; Creating a Nurse’s Badge Program with the Girl Scouts,” in Nurse Leader (February 2004), work is being done with the Boy Scouts to build a program that will also fit their organization.

For more information about the Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area, visit their web site at www.girlscoutsbayarea.org. To learn more about the Nursing Exploration Patch contact Becky Hodges, (510) 562-8470.

Release Date: February 23, 2005

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