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Philadelphia school hosts Mini Nurse Academy program for elementary, middle school students

By 6abc Digital Staff

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    PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A new program called the Mini Nurse Academy launched this year at General George Meade School in North Philadelphia.

It’s the first school on the east coast to have this national program, with the goal to introduce Black and Brown elementary and middle school students to the field of nursing.

Almost two dozen students learned the ins-and-outs of nursing every Tuesday for eight weeks.

“Let them know that there are people who look just like them that can be nurses. That’s how we started,” said Sharon Thompson, school nurse at Constitution High School.

Thompson says the program is important because they need to know that we need more nurses.

During the pandemic, the medical field saw a thinning of its nursing staff. The shortage was felt nationwide.

Nurse Lisa Simpson says it’s more prevalent among nurses of color.

“When I was coming up, I was the only Black nurse in my nursing school. The only Black to graduate,” she said. “There’s always been a shortage, so it’s very important to encourage Black and Brown children to come up and get higher level degrees.”

Simpson is now a nurse at General George Meade School.

About a dozen other nurses also volunteered their days after their hospital shifts to help school kids on the life-saving craft.

During the program, students came up with their own research project, and learned First Aid and emergency care like CPR.

“They got hands-on experience with getting blood pressures and just checking vitals,” said Beverly Jordan, nurse at Philadelphia Military Academy High School.

The vital message to students upon completing the program was clear.

“You can do this. It is definitely hard work and dedication, but in the world of nursing, everything is an opportunity,” said Clarissa Collier, MSN, RN, CSN at Feltonville Intermediate School.

The program comes back in January 2024 at General George Meade school with another set of third to sixth grade students.

They’re also hoping to expand as they get more volunteers.

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