CCRI partners with charter high school for ‘seamless pathway’ to nursing degree

THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE of Rhode Island has reached a partnership agreement with the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College Charter High School./ COURTESY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND
THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE of Rhode Island has reached a partnership agreement with the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College Charter High School designed to help students transition into college. / COURTESY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND

WARWICK – The Community College of Rhode Island is partnering with a nursing charter high school to remove barriers and provide a “seamless pathway” to CCRI’s nursing program.

Under the partnership announced Tuesday that eases the college application process, graduates of the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College Charter High School, or RINI, in Providence will have a spot waiting for them in the CCRI nursing program.

In addition, an adviser will be assigned to cohorts of RINI graduates to guide them until they receive a CCRI associate degree and enter a bachelor’s degree nursing program.

CCRI officials said the arrangement will help expand the diversity of students in the nursing program. About 45% of the RINI students are Latinos and 36% are black, according to the school website. At the same time, 87% of the students meet income guidelines for free or reduced lunch.

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The school, located on Washington Street, has an enrollment of about 270 students.

“By introducing the CCRI nursing pathway to these RINI students, we are offering the opportunity of seamless transition from high school to the CCRI nursing program and then onward to bachelor’s degree programs,” said Rosemary Costigan, CCRI vice president for academic affairs. “Students will receive the support they need to succeed throughout their academic and career path.”

CCRI said RINI students who want to enroll in CCRI’s nursing program after graduation will still have to meet admission requirements. The adviser assigned to the RINI cohorts will make personal connections with each student.

Research shows that the cohort model is important for minority student success in postsecondary education, according to CCRI. RINI students who have clear guidance and a solid connection to their cohort are more likely to be successful.

CCRI said the partnership is also a chance to produce a health care workforce with a diversity representative of Rhode Island’s population.

“Increasing diversity among health professionals is a way to achieve greater cultural and linguistic competence, which is known to have direct benefit to quality of care, patient experience and health outcomes,” Patrick Tigue, Rhode Island Medicaid director, said in CCRI’s news release.

RINI CEO Pamela McCue said she’s thrilled about the partnership with CCRI.

“Because our students begin their college preparation toward a nursing degree in high school, this partnership allows them to become registered nurses two years after high school graduation and gives them the ability to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing in less than four years,” McCue said. “This is an innovative educational model to ensure that Rhode Island has the highly educated and diverse nursing workforce that it needs.”

William Hamilton is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Hamilton@PBN.com.