Penn Medicine joins health systems that are creating nursing pipelines by partnering with high school systems and colleges.
Philadelphia-area high school students seeking to become nurses are getting a strong boost from Penn Medicine’s new ASPIRE Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP).
The program, with a goal of increasing healthcare diversity while offering economic mobility, will annually select up to 25 outstanding high school juniors as ASPIRE scholars to participate in an enrichment program, lasting for the remainder of high school.
The enrichment program offers mentorship and exposure to healthcare, the role of nurses, patient safety, and more through a series of interactive and hands-on sessions at the hospital. The first cohort begins in early 2023.
The partnership is the latest in which hospitals and health systems are teaming up with high school systems or colleges to boost a thriving and diverse nursing workforce.
Children's Hospital Colorado for example, created the Medical Career Collaborative (MC²), which launches high school students toward healthcare careers through hands-on experiences and more.
The pipeline, begun more than 20 years ago, continues to help with workforce challenges, says Stacey Whiteside, the hospital's director of experience and engagement who leads MC².
And because nursing schools turn away tens of thousands of qualified applicants due to shortages of clinical sites and faculty, CommonSpirit Health has partnered with Charles R. Drew University (CDU) of Medicine and Science, one of the nation's four historically Black medical schools, to grow and diversify the nursing workforce.
ASPIRE students initially will receive lecture-type lessons and hands-on learning in the hospital from HUP nurses and hospital staff. They won’t participate in clinical work with hospital patients, they will be able to observe and assist nurses and other clinicians.
At the end of this part of ASPIRE, scholars will also have a better understanding of the life of a nurse and the skills and approach required to excel at the job.
Those who graduate from high school, fulfill requirements, and want a career in nursing then can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at La Salle University with financial support from federal grants, a school scholarship, and a scholarship from the ASPIRE Program itself—which is funded by the Howley Foundation and Penn Medicine.
The students will be able to apply for paid positions at HUP where they can practice their skills and gain more relevant experience.
“ASPIRE firmly aligns with Penn Medicine’s and HUP’s goals to offer pipeline opportunities for members of our community to continue cultivating an inclusive workforce and providing outstanding patient care,” said Colleen Mattioni, DNP, MBA, chief nurse executive at HUP.
During their college years, ASPIRE students will receive ongoing support and guidance from advisors, as well as regular check-ins with their peers and instructors from the program.
“ASPIRE firmly aligns with Penn Medicine’s and HUP’s goals to … continue cultivating an inclusive workforce and providing outstanding patient care.”
— Colleen Mattioni, DNP, MBA, chief nurse executive, HUP
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Goals of the new ASPIRE program are to increase healthcare diversity and offer economic mobility.
Hospitals and health systems are increasingly partnering with high school systems or colleges to boost a thriving and diverse nursing workforce.
The program includes financial support from federal grants and various scholarships.