Children’s Aid Grows It’s Own Nurses!

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Every week at Children’s Aid Community School, Mirabal Sisters Campus, in Washington Heights, a group of 10 future nurses are preparing for a profession in which they will experience the limitless rewards of saving a life, and a profession that is also experiencing a growing shortage. It is predicted that by 2025, the country will be facing a shortfall of 260,000 nurses.

Growing Our Own Nurses addresses the growing national nursing shortage by generating interest among young students in nursing careers. Growing Our Own Nurses is an after-school program for 6-8th grade students that meet twice a week. On Tuesdays students participate in fun lessons on medically-related topics. Lessons are fun and interactive; students learn about an array of health-related subjects, learn how to take vital signs, as well as how to draw blood (red Kool-Aid) from a “dummy” arm. On Thursdays, students venture out of school to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to observe health professionals in the “real world.” Visits are also engaging and interactive. Hospital workers take our students nurses on tours of the different areas of the hospital, for instance: in the pulmonary care section they were able to see an artificial heart and taught about its function; in radiology they were taught about the CAT scan and sonogram machines and their purpose; and in the surgical section, they were provided with the opportunity to wear a set of surgical outfits. Students interacted with patients, as well as put their nursing skills into practice by taking each other’s vital signs with actual hospital equipment. Other activities have included visiting the American Museum of Natural History, a viewing of the movie Supersize Me and participating in a Nurses Week event.

Growing Our Own Nurses is an incredibly inspiring and innovative program. Many of these youth now view nursing as an exciting potential profession and are discussing which areas of medicine they want to study. If you would like to learn more about programs like Growing Our Own Nurses at Children’s Aid, visit our website at www.childrensaidsociety.org. Karen Mackenzie Development Associate The Children's Aid Society