High School students participated in an escape room activity at Oklahoma City University’s Camp Kramer Way, where students had to solve a puzzle using clues about mental health awareness in the escape room.

story by Van Mitchell, Contributing Writer  – photos by Michaela Childs, OCU Student Photographer

Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing last week hosted a three-day summer camp for 18 high school students from across the state.
Camp Kramer Way is an initiative to encourage more students to consider entering health care professions, an industry facing severe staffing shortages.
The camp was open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in learning more about the nursing profession that participated. The free camp was put on thanks to a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
“Utilizing the Kramer School of Nursing’s advanced facilities, high school students will get to experience some of the many inherent rewards of nursing,” said Crystal Westmoreland. “With staffing shortages across the country, especially rural areas, we feel it is imperative to introduce nursing as a potential career to the next generation.”
Candice Black, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Kramer School of Nursing, said over 75 students applied for the camp, with participants selected from a camp committee. (story continues below)

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“We had over 75 applicants, so there was a strong interest in participating,” Black said. “It (camp) will help high school students have a greater understanding of the avenues they can take with nursing, and the overall impact they can make in their healthcare communities.”
Camp participants stayed two nights in the university’s housing facilities, and meals and off-campus activities were included, all free of charge.
Camp Kramer Way offers an experiential, hands-on learning opportunity on the OCU campus. Participants worked directly with counselors and nursing school faculty.
The Kramer School of Nursing has been part of OCU since 1981. Its Meinders Simulation Center, where students practice with realistic patient-care scenarios, opened with the latest in nursing school technology in 2017.
Camp activities included taking a Stop the Bleed certificate course. STOP THE BLEED® is a national campaign to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. It is a public/private partnership led by the Department of Defense and many other stakeholders.
Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventative deaths. Approximately 40 percent of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences, establishing hemorrhage as the most common cause of preventable death in trauma.
Camp students also participated in CPR training using simulation mannikins, and escape room activities including a problem-solving puzzle with clues that focused on mental health awareness, said Casey Cassidy, PhD, RN, CMSRN, CHSE, Interim Assistant Dean, Director of Meinders Simulation Center Associate Professor Kramer School of Nursing Oklahoma City University.
“This is written for high schoolers, so they don’t need any nursing knowledge to get through it,” she said. “They (students) have to work together as a team. We have escape rooms to incorporate nursing skills. We talked to them (students) about mental health awareness. We talk to them that suicide is preventable. We take that very serious. We strive to have a very healthy (OCU) campus concerning mental health.”
Camp participants got hands-on learning through Oculus 2 virtual reality headsets that allows them to learn about anatomy through a computer program.
“This would provide a greater foundation and a greater understanding of anatomy,” said Mattie Williams, a senior nursing student at OCU. “They (students) are looking at a skeleton now. They look at digestive systems, and expand the physiology of the body as well and that would help us (better) understand disease processes and why a disease manifests, and how we would treat it. It is really cool seeing how they are utilizing it.”
Williams said OCU just received the Oculus 2 virtual reality headsets, and OCU nursing students will use them for the first time this fall.
Emma Grantz, a Minco High School senior, was one of the camp attendees. She said she came to the camp with a friend.
“My friend was invited through her tribe, and she told me about it (because) she knew I wanted to go into healthcare,” Grantz said. “We both applied and got accepted. It has been super fun. I am enjoying it a lot.”
Nicole Herzog, a senior from Harrah, also attended the camp. She comes from a military family, and said she would like to become a military nurse.
Herzog said with over 75 applicants, she was excited that she got accepted to the summer camp.
“It was pretty amazing to open that email and see that I got in,” Herzog said. “It has been pretty amazing.” For more information on Kramer School of Nursing visit: https://www.okcu.edu/nursing/home