School Partnerships and Outreach Programs Foster Next Generation of Nurses

By Yolanda Munguia, academic partnerships program manager, Premier Health Learning Institute

Finding ways to attract students to a career in nursing can be challenging. Many students who are driven to help others have preconceived ideas about nursing that prevent them from exploring nursing as a career. Premier Health’s Learning Institute works with more than 40 school partners to provide job shadowing, tours, internships, and career exploration programs for students and arranges for nurses to be present, as well as attend career fairs. Through these opportunities, students learn about the nursing profession, educational requirements, duties, ongoing education, and the workload and demands, both in the hospital and in office and community settings.

Job shadowing is one of the most popular ways to learn about nursing. Students from Warren County Career Center, Upper Valley Career Center, Greene County Career Center, and local high schools are scheduled to observe nurses providing patient care on medical-surgical and intensive care units, in women’s services, and in the oncology, surgery, and emergency departments. These observations help students confirm career plans and provide direction in choosing a career path in nursing.

Nurses are one of the most frequently requested speakers coordinated through the Learning Institute. Volunteer speakers attend high school career fairs, participate on speaker panels, and give lunch time presentations at Centerville and Middletown high schools. Nurses are also recruited to provide demonstrations using simulation or telemedicine to students at career events held at Chaminade Julienne, Dayton Regional STEM School, and Fairborn and West Milton high schools.

Career exploration programs are designed by the Learning Institute to meet the needs of STEM programs, and nursing has a large role in programs held at Premier Health facilities. MedQuest is an all-day program for high school students interested in learning about health professions. Students rotate through various stations to learn about careers not only in nursing, but in respiratory therapy, imaging, emergency medicine, surgery, therapies, women’s services, and pharmacy as well.

The Premier Health Learning Institute also provides observation opportunities for college students who are considering changing their major to nursing or for nursing students wanting to explore a nursing unit before applying for a position.

While all of these strategies for recruiting students to nursing are valuable, the most important piece is mentoring from nurses. Students who have chosen to pursue nursing often struggle with choosing the best pathway to become a nurse, so having a close relationship with a mentor willing to share his or her own career story can help facilitate their success.

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