Vanderbilt, public schools team up to mentor future nurses

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, based in Nashville, Tenn., will partner with Metro Nashville Public Schools to lead monthly conversations with high school seniors about what it takes to become a registered nurse. 

Nineteen students at Pearl-Cohn's Health Science Academy have been paired with members of the hospital's diversity, equity and inclusion committee, which Vanderbilt said is part of a diversity outreach program for future healthcare professionals. 

Leaders say the collaboration has multiple purposes, from attracting a diverse pool of potential job candidates to expanding opportunities for local students.

"The nurses on the [nurse diversity, equity and iclusion committee] recognized this as an opportunity for VUMC nurses to invest in the future of the nursing profession," said Mamie Williams, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing diversity and inclusion at Vanderbilt. "Additionally, they were motivated to create a sustainable positive generational impact on individuals, their families and their community." 

More than 200 students at the science academy are interested in becoming a healthcare worker, but the program's kicking off for 19 of them in its first year. Vanderbilt said it hopes to eventually expand the program to other academies in the school system. 

Other health systems, such as Des Moines, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health, have launched similar efforts to foster interest among schoolchildren to become nurses and other health professionals.

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