The annual Pre-RN Program Lab Coat Ceremony took place on May 23, 2016, and featured 12 graduating students. The students received official lab coats and were given Florence Nightingale pins to acknowledge their accomplishment. The ceremony showcased the students’ Capstone Project: a three month long assignment where they participated in a series of video production workshops and conducted interviews focusing on new and emerging diseases. At the ceremony, students presented their findings in three short videos.
The graduates also spoke about how the Pre-RN program helped prepare them for college. Several credited the discipline, time management skills and self-confidence they developed in the program as keys to success in higher education. Kimberly Tolentino, R.N. , a 2008 Pre-RN alumna and an Oncology Nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, praised the program, saying “I was pushed beyond what I thought were my limits and reminded that I could do anything that I set my mind to.”
The Pre-RN Program aims to increase both the availability and diversity of the New York City nursing workforce by preparing high school students to seriously consider nursing professions. As part of the program, teens are engaged in a rigorous Saturday academic schedule taught by Dr. Carmelita Blake. Topics as wide-ranging as anatomy, physiology, and public speaking are covered.
All student internships are administered under the guidance of Carla Lowe, a Registered Nurse who gives students’ crucial on-the-job experience by taking them on site visits to various institutions. Students take tours of the hospital, meet nursing staff, and are trained on how to “scrub in.” Hospital tours are geared toward the student’s area of interest and concentration. By partnering with institutions like Montefiore Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital and others, the Pre-RN program provides young people with the opportunity to explore nursing careers through fieldwork and hands-on experience.