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Building Bridges: From High School to Healthcare Professional

Bumgarner, Susan D. MSN, RN,C; Means, Bill H. MS; Ford, Marian J. MS

Journal for Nurses in Professional Development: January-February 2003 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 18-22
Article: CE

A summer health careers program in existence for 10 years has created interest in high school juniors and seniors to pursue healthcare professions. This program, now open to all students, began as a recruitment initiative to encourage underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students to pursue health careers in a rural North Carolina county, a previous Health Professions Shortage Area (HPSA). Seventy percent (70%) of the 160 students who have participated in the program are pursuing or practicing a health profession, and of these, 50% chose nursing. Collaboration between an Area Health Education Center, a local community hospital, and county school system makes this program successful. The authors describe the history of this program and the importance of collaboration. A framework for the development of a summer program is summarized. Staff development educators can use this framework to develop outreach programs to recruit students into nursing.

Susan D. Bumgarner, MSN, RN,C, is Director, Organizational Learning, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Hickory, North Carolina.

Bill H. Means, MS, formerly served as Coordinator, Recruitment, Retention, & Academic Development, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Northwest AHEC, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He now serves as Managing Director of Inroads Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Marian J. Ford, MS, is Workforce Development Coordinator, Catawba County Schools, Newton, North Carolina.

Address for reprints: Susan D. Bumgarner, MSN, RN,C, Director, Organizational Learning, Catawba Valley Medical Center, 810 Fairgrove Church Road, SE, Hickory, NC 28602 (

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.