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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on June 23, 2017

Local students learn why “Nurses are Extraordinary”

Michael Smith’s heart is set on being a nurse.

For years, the 17-year-old has interacted with nurses as they’ve helped a family member manage diabetes. The experience has offered him a first-hand look at the importance of nurses to the patients they serve.

“Nurses are the ones who help you, who raise you back from your sicknesses,” Smith said. “Rehabilitation is one of the things I like -- being someone who can help when you’re down.”

Participating in the new Tidelands Health “Nurses are Extraordinary” program only strengthened Smith’s interest in the field. The newly established program recently gave about two dozen local students an opportunity to learn about the nursing profession by visiting Tidelands Health hospitals. Nurses and students together in the simulation lab

The teens got a behind-the-scenes look at hospital operations, learned about different pieces of equipment and met with nurses and nursing administrators to learn more about the field and potential career paths. Georgetown County students visited Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, while students from Horry County schools visited Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.

“The goal is to help prospective nurses explore the profession in a real-world environment,” said Ashley Capps, associate vice president for nursing operations at Tidelands Health. “There’s no better way to do that than give students the chance to explore our hospitals and speak to nurses working in the field every day.”

Smith said his favorite parts of the program were talking to nurses about their experiences and learning about an innovative piece of equipment, called a vein finder, that uses a special light to help clinicians locate a patient’s veins.

“It was a lot of fun to see the ins and outs of the hospital,” said Smith, an incoming senior in the pre-medical program at the Academy for Arts, Science and Technology in Myrtle Beach. “It was a really interesting experience.”

Georgia Willard, 16, was skeptical about participating at first. She learned about the “Nurses Are Extraordinary” program through an email sent out by her guidance counselor at the Academy for Technology and Academics in Conway.

Still, she decided to apply and did not regret the decision.

“I’m so glad and thankful that I went for it,” said Willard, an incoming senior in the academy’s nursing program. “It was a good experience.”

Willard said she became interested in nursing because of an innate interest in caring for others. Watching the nurses at Tidelands Health interact with patients reinforced her interest in the profession.

“You could see the nurses were really taking care of the patients,” Willard said. “How they feel about helping people is how I feel about helping people.”

She said her favorite part of the program was the hospital tour.

“I really liked that,” she said. You could see the different floors and the different parts of nursing and what different nurses do.”


Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 70 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.