March 29, 2024

VUMC nurses lead Pearl-Cohn career fair to showcase health care careers to high school students

The fair featured a multidisciplinary group, including nursing, social work, EMS, pharmacy, medicine and surgical and radiology technologists.

Pearl-Cohn High School students Mia Moshay, 18, Katiea Brooks, 18, and Kyler Garcia, 16, speak with VUMC’s Lindsey Storm, CPhT-Adv, CPST, and Terry Bossen, PharmD, during the Health Care Career Day Fair at Pearl-Cohn High School. (photo by Erin O. Smith)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nursing organized a Health Care Career Day at Pearl-Cohn High School in North Nashville recently to expose students to diverse and rewarding careers in health care in general and at VUMC in particular.

The goal is to create a pathway to recruit and retain diverse nurses, medical assistants, care partners and other important roles, said Mamie Williams, PhD, MPH, MSN, APRN, senior director of Nursing Diversity and Inclusion at VUMC.

The fair featured a multidisciplinary group of more than 20 Vanderbilt professionals, including representatives of nursing, social work, EMS, pharmacy, medicine and surgical and radiology technologists.

“It has been a fulfilling experience to share our passion and love for our respective professions with the students at Pearl-Cohn,” said Amber White, DNP, RN, quality/patient safety advisor for Performance Management & Improvement at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “I am optimistic that the knowledge imparted will serve as a valuable guide for them as they navigate their career paths.”

Each of the providers talked with the students about their roles, the educational requirements for them, and their average salary, Williams said.

“These young people are so energetic, and it is a pleasure to meet them,” Williams said. “We believe that nurses and other medical professionals have a role to get out there and champion our professions, advocating for young people to perceive them as great opportunities for careers.”

Vanderbilt nurses created the fair specifically for students of Pearl-Cohn’s Health Science Academy, which prepares students interested in pursuing medical careers. Williams and other VUMC professionals serve as mentors in the program who meet monthly to discuss diverse topics that are foundational to an individual’s success as a health care professional.

“The idea for the fair came from my work with the students in the mentoring program, where I noticed a gap in their knowledge and awareness of the health care field, Williams said.

It all starts by increasing the students’ knowledge of what health care roles are available to them.

“This work is foundational to the success of our efforts to grow and diversify our team of Vanderbilt nurses,” said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, NE-BC, executive chief nursing officer. “I have no doubt that we will one day welcome these young people to Vanderbilt as nurses and other health care professionals.”