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8 Free Nursing Programs for High School Students

Applying for a nursing program while in high school is a smart move if you’re considering a career in healthcare. These programs can provide solid hands-on experience, allowing you to explore the nursing profession in depth and gain practical skills that would be essential in the medical field. By participating in these programs, students can better understand the daily responsibilities of nurses, the challenges they face, and the rewarding aspects of this career.


Early exposure to the field of nursing can significantly enhance your college application too! Admission committees seek candidates with a demonstrated interest in their chosen field, who have taken the initiative to gain relevant experience early on. Attending a nursing program not only shows dedication and passion but also provides students with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that can set them apart from other applicants. Additionally, these programs often offer mentorship opportunities, networking with professionals, and insights into the healthcare industry, all of which can be valuable when applying for pre-med programs or other health-related degrees.


In this article, we explore eight free nursing programs for high school students that offer excellent opportunities to gain experience, develop skills, and give you a headstart in your future endeavors. 


The Seacole Scholars Program, named after the pioneer nurse Mary Seacole, is a summer initiative designed for students keen on a career in healthcare. The program selects around 80 scholars with CNA licenses and gives them a chance to work on the nursing units for 4 days a week while spending one day a week attending Lifespan Workforce and Youth Development training ensuring that they get a well-rounded practical as well as academic experience. The program supports incoming aspiring nursing students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the field, enhancing their educational journey and fostering a deeper understanding of the nursing profession.


During the program, you will explore actual career options in healthcare and get career-building help from professional career experts. Students in the Seacole Scholars Program will gain substantial real-world experience and engage in components such as career counseling. 


Location: Providence, RI

Eligibility: High school students aged 16-19 with valid Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) licenses can apply.

Application deadline: Applications open in November and are accepted through January each year. 

Dates: 7 weeks from June to August

Stipend: Students will be paid but the exact amount is not specified.


Kaiser Permanente, one of the top healthcare providers globally, offers this program for high school students to gain experience in the healthcare industry. In addition to learning how to be a young medical practitioner, the program is focused on professional development where you will engage in shadowing activities and educational workshops to understand patient care and how the entire health industry works.


When applying for the program you can choose to be part of the Healthcare and Hospital Operation track where you will play an important role in both visionary and strategic roles in various hospitals. Selected students will attend weekly workshops to develop their skills, work and interact with supervisors and mentors, work on collaborative community service projects with peers, and build a network. Departments and projects may change annually, with some past departments including nursing, administration, internal medicine, and patient care.


Location: You can intern at a Kaiser Permanente Medical Center or business office closest to where you are. Find a location near you.

Eligibility: Current high school students aged 16-19 with U.S. work eligibility and permanent residence in a Northern California Kaiser Permanente designated service area. Students will need to commute to the location.

Application deadline: Applications will open in November 2024 for the 2025 program.

Dates: June 17 - August 2, 2024

Stipend: $15.50 - 18 per hour


The Eve and Gene Black Medical program offers students the chance to work in different hospitals with medical mentors and experts. Once selected, you will attend workshops led by general pediatricians, and specialists, including surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, infectious disease specialists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, child life, and therapists, (like physical, speech, occupational, or cognitive therapists) to understand how patient healthcare works.


To ensure that you can get hands-on experience, the program assigns you to a hospital in the Los Angeles area, like the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, to observe and help out with various medical procedures, treatment plans, and patient care to gain exposure as a young nurse and health care worker. At the end of the program, each participant will also receive a certificate of completion as well as the opportunity to receive a $500 scholarship from the Edward M. Rissman Scholarship Fund!


Location: Various medical centers in Los Angeles, CA

Eligibility: Current 11th and 12th-grade students are eligible to apply.

Dates: 4 weeks (July - August)

Application Deadline: Applications for the 2024 program are closed and will reopen in January for the 2025 cohort.

Stipend: Unpaid. Each participant will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program and one $500 scholarship will be awarded.


UC Davis School of Nursing's SHINES program is an immersive, hands-on experience for high school students interested in exploring nursing and healthcare careers. This dynamic summer program provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the field of nursing, emphasizing both practical skills and theoretical knowledge. You will engage in interactive workshops, clinical simulations, and lab activities designed to mirror real-life nursing scenarios. You will learn about various nursing specialties, patient care techniques, and the critical role nurses play in healthcare delivery. 


The program also includes mentorship opportunities, where you will interact with nursing faculty and current nursing students, gaining valuable insights and guidance on pursuing a nursing career. By the end of the program, you will have a deeper understanding of the nursing profession and of potential career and college major options. 


Location: UC Davis Sacramento campus, CA

Eligibility: Current high school students in their junior or senior year

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Dates: June 17 to 28, 2024

Stipend: None. 


Seattle Children’s Summer Nursing Camp is a great opportunity for high school students interested in the field of nursing. This one-week camp is designed to provide an immersive experience in the world of nursing and healthcare. You will engage in hands-on activities, simulations, and interactive sessions led by experienced nurses and healthcare professionals.


The program includes workshops in various nursing specialties such as CICU, NICU, and PICU, patient care techniques, and the essential skills required in the nursing profession. Students will have the chance to learn about the critical role nurses play in healthcare settings, understand the pathways to a nursing career, and receive guidance on educational and professional development. By the end of the camp, students will have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to pursue a career in nursing.


Location: Seattle Children’s Hospital Campus, Seattle, WA

Eligibility: 

  • Students must be entering their junior or senior year of high school in the fall of 2024 and be at least 16 years old by the start of camp (July 15, 2024)

  • Students must reside in the Puget Sound area.

Application Deadline: The application window for 2024 has closed and campers have been selected. The 2025 application will open in late February 2025.

Dates: July 15 - 19, 2024

Stipend: None.


The University of Washington’s School of Nursing offers the Nurse Camp, a free, week-long program designed for high school students interested in exploring the field of nursing. This experience includes hands-on learning opportunities, workshops, and direct interaction with nursing professionals. During the camp, you will engage in clinical simulations to understand various aspects of patient care, participate in interactive workshops on nursing skills and techniques, and learn about different nursing specialties and the diverse roles nurses play in healthcare.


The program aims to inspire the next generation of nurses by offering a comprehensive introduction to the profession and highlighting the critical role nurses play. This camp is an excellent opportunity for students to explore their interest in nursing, gain valuable knowledge and skills, and connect with like-minded peers and professionals. You will also have the opportunity to tour the School of Nursing facilities and get a firsthand look at the learning environment, and receive mentorship from current nursing students and faculty.


Location: Seattle, WA

Eligibility: Current high school students who are 16 years of age by the first day of UW Nurse Camp

Application Deadline: The application window for 2024 has closed and campers have been selected. Check back for 2025 dates.

Dates: July 15 - 19, 2024

Stipend: None.


The University of Portland School of Nursing offers a comprehensive High School Nurse Camp designed for students interested in pursuing a career in nursing. This week-long summer program provides high school students with a hands-on introduction to the nursing profession, where they will build a solid foundation of knowledge and practical skills.


During the camp, you will engage in clinical simulations to experience real-world nursing scenarios, learn fundamental nursing skills such as taking vital signs, performing CPR, and wound care, and participate in interactive workshops that cover various nursing specialties and healthcare topics. The camp aims to inspire and educate future nurses by providing a comprehensive overview of the field. Students will leave the camp with a better understanding of what it takes to pursue nursing and how they can prepare for a future in healthcare.


Location: Portland, OR

Eligibility: Current high school students who are 16 years of age by the first day of Nurse Camp

Application Deadline: The application window for 2024 has closed and campers have been selected. Check back for 2025 dates.

Dates: June 24 - 28, 2024

Stipend: None


The Teens in Nursing program by Hospice of the Valley offers high school students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the nursing field. This volunteer program is designed to provide young individuals with a comprehensive introduction to healthcare, allowing them to work alongside professional nurses and other healthcare staff. You will engage in a range of tasks, including patient care, administrative support, and assisting with daily operations within hospice care settings.


During the program, you will be exposed to real-world nursing environments, deepening your understanding of patient care, medical ethics, and the importance of compassionate service. This experience not only prepares students for future careers in nursing and healthcare but also fosters essential skills such as communication, empathy, and teamwork. Additionally, the program includes educational workshops and mentorship opportunities, providing students with valuable guidance and insights from experienced healthcare professionals.


Location: Phoenix, AZ

Eligibility: Must be in high school and under 18 years of age 

Application Deadline: Applications open in May 2024 and are accepted on a rolling basis

Dates: To be announced.

Stipend: None.


This camp offers a dynamic and immersive experience for high school students interested in nursing. This free, week-long summer program blends practical, hands-on activities with educational sessions with a goal to inspire and inform future healthcare professionals.


During the camp, you will engage in interactive nursing skills labs, where you will learn and practice essential techniques such as taking vital signs, administering injections, and performing basic patient care. You will also get to shadow experienced nurses in various clinical settings, gaining first-hand insight into the daily responsibilities and challenges of the profession. By participating in workshops and seminars that cover a wide range of topics in nursing, including patient care, medical terminology, and healthcare ethics, students will be able to explore different nursing specialties through presentations and discussions led by healthcare professionals. By the end of the program, you will have a deeper understanding of the field and the steps you need to take to pursue this career.


Location: Houston, Texas City, Dallas, TX

Eligibility: Current high school students. 

Application Deadline: To be announced

Dates: A week in July (tentatively, based on previous years)

Stipend: None.


The West Virginia University (WVU) School of Nursing conducts a free day camp for high school students designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the nursing profession. This educational camp will allow you to explore various aspects of nursing through hands-on activities, interactive sessions, and direct interactions with nursing faculty and current nursing students.


You will gain insights into the daily responsibilities of nurses, understand different nursing specialties, and learn about the educational pathways leading to a nursing career. The camp also includes practical demonstrations such as basic clinical skills, CPR training, and patient care techniques. Additionally, students will have the chance to tour the WVU School of Nursing facilities, including simulation labs and classrooms, getting a first-hand look at the learning environment and resources available.


Location: Morgantown, WV

Eligibility: Current high school students

Application Deadline: Open to the first 50 students who sign up.

Dates: June 1, 2024

Stipend: None.


Bonus — the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’d like to participate in a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Kaiser Permanente logo

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