VUMC again collaborating to bring nursing education to Metro SchoolsNov. 9, 2023, 10:13 AM
by Matt Batcheldor
For the second year, VUMC nurses are collaborating with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to mentor high school students to become medical assistants or care partners who have identified a future goal of being a registered nurse.
More than a dozen VUMC nurses recently volunteered at an in-person orientation event at the Health Science Academy at Pearl-Cohn High School in North Nashville, attended by 40 students. Following the kickoff event, the nurses meet weekly with the students as they pursue their new careers.
The collaboration, a joint project of MNPS and VUMC’s Nurse Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (NDEIC), works to address the national nursing shortage by motivating a diverse group of young people to pursue nursing, said Mamie Williams, PhD, MPH, APRN, senior director of Nursing Diversity and Inclusion.
“Addressing our nursing shortage requires innovative approaches, such as expanding the nursing pipeline to those persons who have historically been underrepresented in health care,” Williams said. “Students can turn to our mentors for assistance navigating applying to college, understanding the foundational course work needed to be viable candidate for nursing school, as well as general encouragement.”
After graduation, students may qualify to attend VUMC’s Care Partner Academy, a tuition-free, full-time training opportunity for people interested in becoming care partners. After that program, which lasts about a month, participants will be employed as care partners at VUMC.
Williams noted that once high school graduates are employed as medical assistants or care partners at VUMC, there is also a pathway for them to pursue higher education and become a nurse. That pathway is backed by VUMC’s Nursing Tuition Benefit, which covers up to $8,000 in tuition charges per fiscal year for full-time employees enrolled in accredited associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in nursing.
“It is a pleasure to participate in this exciting program,” said Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, NE-BC, who was among the volunteers. “By engaging with the community and promoting paths for diversity, we enrich not only the students but the entire Vanderbilt community.”