This summer the UConn School of Nursing hosted its first Early Introduction to the Nursing Profession program (EINP) for high school students from June 23 – June 27th. This innovative program was planned and led by the school’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. MaryAnn Perez-Brescia, PhD, RN, and a team that included two student workers along with Aime Liggett, the Pre-Licensure Clinical Placement Assistant.
This offering was made possible thanks to the support of the Connecticut Health Foundation which provided a grant that was secured by Dr. Perez-Brescia for the first year. The EINP was first discussed with students from Simsbury, Avon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, South Windsor, Hartford, and East Hartford High Schools. Over the course of the academic year, Dr. Perez-Brescia and her team of two undergraduate nursing students visited schools and spoke with students. Students then had to apply to the program making a commitment with their families to secure a space.
This program was a first for the School of Nursing and allowed 20 high school students to come and participate. “The UConn SoN fosters future scholars, clinicians, and leaders. The framework for activities centered around building those three elements,” said Dr. Perez-Brescia when planning the outline of the program.
Activities included two days of simulation, CPR and Stop the Bleed certification, followed by one day at Hartford Healthcare, where they followed a nurse. High school students also engaged in learning about health literacy, health disparities, and health equity, and on their last day, presented a project to improve health literacy and health equity. They also heard about the important research Dr. Christina Ross is doing with adolescents. Students also heard from several university departments (financial aid, early college admissions) to learn how to navigate the university system to streamline the application process. Students who participated said the experience was “eventful, insightful, eye opening” and every one of them said that it helped eliminate their hesitancy about college.
“Being at the hospital and seeing sick patients made me think of how I would want my loved ones taken care of. It made me want to be a nurse even more so that I could give good care.” – a student from the EINP summer of 2023 program.
UConn School of Nursing Alumni Board President, Ryan Massicotte helped facilitate discussions with students and had the experience to get to know many of them over the course of the week. “I can rest assured knowing that the future of nursing is in the hands of motivated and capable young adults. As a nurse, I look forward to these students joining our ranks and helping us navigate an increasingly complex and diverse healthcare system. As an individual with loved ones who may become their patients one day, I hope that they are taken care of by these future UConn nurses. The EINP Program has what it takes to both inform and inspire the very people who we will all rely on one day.”
Dean Chyun also had an opportunity to meet with the students and answer their questions. “Meeting with these enthusiastic students was so refreshing!” On one of my last days as dean it was very special being able to reflect back on my almost half century as a nurse, as well as to share all that UConn has to offer. I am most grateful to Dr. Perez-Brescia for her hard work in making this important opportunity available to students from the greater Hartford area.”
This program is a wonderful opportunity for any high school student who is interested in becoming a nurse and wants to take a more in-depth look at the UConn nursing program and all the opportunities it provides. To learn more about the EINP program please contact Dr. Perez-Brescia at email@example.com.