CEO of the American Nurses Association Marla Weston will visit the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College Charter High School Monday to meet with students and tour the school, which is the first and only middle college in the country aimed at preparing high school students for careers in nursing.
The charter school, which was founded in 2011, provides an innovative answer to the increasing demand for health care providers in the country, Weston said in an interview. She noted that nursing is a profession that requires a deep understanding of hard sciences, which often students do not gain in their high school education. By offering college-level courses, the charter school helps prepare its lottery-selected students for careers in nursing.
“This is a breakthrough innovation that I think is incredibly exciting and potentially transformational,” said Weston, who is in town for the Rhode Island State Nurses Association’s annual business meeting.
Pam McCue, CEO of the school, said she has received phone calls from around the country about the school’s model and how to replicate it. McCue echoed Weston’s thoughts, noting that her school addresses many of the issues facing the nursing profession: the nursing shortage in the state and in the country, which is increasing with expanded access to care thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the need for diversity in the profession, and the difficulty of required science courses that many nursing students face in college.
The school will graduate its first class this May. It ranked in the top 10 public schools in the state for low income, Black, and Latino student performance for 2013.