During this session participants will gain an overview of nursing and learn how it fits into the health care industry as a whole.


  • Health
  • Nursing


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Discover opportunities within nursing.
  • Learn what vital signs are.
  • Measure respiratory rate and heart rate.
  • Tour a specialty care unit and observe nursing practices.


  • In advance of the session, arrange for a speaker from the nursing profession. (See the list below of topics for the speaker to address.)
  • In advance of the session, arrange for a tour of a specialty care unit, if possible (e.g. intensive care unit, obstetrics, or neonatal intensive care).
  • Review the procedure for each demonstration in Activity 2. (See the websites in the resources section for helpful information.)


  • Stethoscope
  • Stopwatch or timer
  • Pulse oximeter, if available
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Disinfecting wipes


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and life.



Speaker Presentation

Welcome the speaker and introduce him or her to the group. Have the speaker address the following topics:

  • An overview of the nursing profession
  • Education requirements, including recommendations for high school and college preparation courses
  • Traditional and nontraditional nursing (e.g. nursing informatics, telephonic nursing, and home health)
  • Nursing settings and roles
  • What a typical day is like for a nurse
  • The future of nursing (projected needs, expanded roles)
  • What vital signs are and how they are measured
  • Conditions that could change or impact vital signs

Be sure to thank the speaker at the conclusion of the discussion.



  • Show participants how to measure:
    • Apical pulse (heartbeat)
    • Radial (wrist) pulse
    • Alternatively, substitute measuring a carotid (neck) pulse if stethoscopes are not available.
  • Show participants how to accurately count the respiratory rate.
  • Determine oxygen saturation using pulse oximetry (if available).
  • With a partner, practice measuring a pulse—both at the wrist (radial pulse) and over the heart (apical), counting respiratory rate and determining oxygen saturation. Provide coaching as appropriate.
  • Determine the pulse and respiratory rate. Have one partner run in place for one minute; then recheck the pulse and respiratory rate. Discuss how the measurements differ.



  • Tour a specialty care nursing unit.
  • Thank anyone from the facility who assists with the tour.


Some sample questions are below to help the participants get the most out of the session and make them think. The questions are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • What did you learn during today’s discussion?
  • Did any of the activities today surprise you?
  • Were the activities harder to do than you thought?
  • Did today’s session expand your understanding of nursing?

Analysis Questions

  • Were you aware of the many options for traditional and nontraditional roles?
  • Share what type of nursing role or specialty interests you most. Why?
  • Do you know what subjects will help you get ready to go into a field in nursing? What courses should you take in high school and college?

Generalization Questions

  • What can you do now, during your time as a student, to better prepare for a career in this field?
  • Why is this topic important?


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