Twenty high school students were eager to practice making hospital beds occupied by a patient after watching instructor, Ann James, MSN, RN, and nursing student, Rachel Benson, demonstrate the proper technique in the Kent State University College of Nursing skills lab. The students, who are enrolled in Kent State University’s summer 2017 Upward Bound Program, were completing their second week of classes at the College of Nursing. The Upward Bound program “seeks to increase educational opportunities and diminish barriers for first-generation, low income students and families through comprehensive services in targeted school districts.1

When James was asked to be part of the Upward Bound curriculum this summer, she knew Benson would make a great assistant. Benson, a senior nursing student from Hartville, OH, has worked in the college’s skills lab for the past three semesters, helping her fellow classmates practice the basic nursing skills necessary in becoming a proficient nurse and providing helpful study tips for difficult exams. Additionally, she has facilitated small group discussions to help her classmates enhance their critical thinking skills.

Under James and Benson’s direction, the Upward Bound students also learned to properly clean their hands using glow in the dark powder, representing germs, with a black light to illuminate areas missed in the washing process, how to take blood pressures, and how to work together as healthcare professionals.

“Rachel responded to questions from students about university life, nursing courses and clinical rotations using her own personal experiences in a professional manner,” said James. “Students who may be interested in attending college or entering a nursing program were able to hear firsthand from a current Kent State University nursing student.”

Seeing the students’ determination and excitement to take on each new challenge was a rewarding experience for Benson.

“I loved watching them listen to their own heart and lung sounds, just like I did when I received my first stethoscope,” said Benson. “It was incredible seeing their awe of nursing from a fresh perspective.”

Benson is set to graduate with her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) in May 2018. Her dream is to one day be a Certified Nurse Midwife and plans to continue her education in graduate school by specialize in midwifery. After working with the Upward Bound students, Benson can also see herself becoming a clinical instructor in order to help instruct new nursing students.

“These high school students opened my eyes again to the wonders of nursing,” said Benson. “I remember conquering my first blood pressure and being so excited I had finally mastered it. I loved being part of their road to learning and I want nothing but the best for them in the future.”

[1] Upward Bound Programs. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2017, from