Nursing students ASCEND as Akron Children’s Hospital interns

From the left, Jamie Apa, Grace Thayer, Jasmine Harrison, Kyle Marshall, Marsha Drabenstadt and Sandra Sterchi, in the main lobby of Akron Children’s Hospital.

From the left, Jamie Apa, Grace Thayer, Jasmine Harrison, Kyle Marshall, Marsha Drabenstadt and Sandra Sterchi, in the main lobby of Akron Children’s Hospital.

Six Youngstown State University nursing students are working as full-time interns at Akron Children’s Hospital this summer as part of the Assuring Success with a Commitment to Enhance Nurse Diversity program.

ASCEND focuses on recruiting traditionally underrepresented groups in the nursing profession. Development of the program began two years ago as a way to increase diversity in the registered nursing workforce at Akron Children’s Hospital.

YSU senior nursing students participating in the intern program are Jamie Apa of Brookfield, Ohio; Marsha Drabenstadt of Struthers, Ohio; Jasmine Harrison of Youngstown, Ohio; Kyle Marshall of Canfield, Ohio; Sandra Sterchi of Girard, Ohio; and Grace Thayer of Campbell, Ohio. The 10-week internship includes a $5,000 stipend.

“Our YSU nursing faculty are very grateful for our partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital and for this amazing opportunity for our students,” said Nancy Wagner, chair of the YSU Department of Nursing. “The selection process was competitive and those who were chosen by a faculty committee met specific criteria. They all have a passion for pediatric nursing and are very excited about the experience.”

The students work with mentors on a pediatric unit: two students in pediatric intensive care and neonatal intensive care/special care nurseries at the Akron Children’s main campus and four students in the pediatric emergency department, special care nurseries and inpatient units at the Mahoning Valley campus.

The program provides professional development opportunities and the potential for future employment in a pediatric hospital setting. Experiences include hands-on nurse related activities using case studies and scenario simulation. Students are expected to work three, 12-hour shifts and also participate in a 4-hour professional day every week with topics focusing on professionalism, priority setting, exploring the nurse roles in pediatric health, communication skills, teamwork, delegation, family centered care delivery model, cultural competence, interview skills and resume development.

“The idea behind the program is to potentially hire these students into the hospital’s nurse tech program should there be a fit at the end of their internships and as a way to springboard their nursing careers,” said Nancy Mosca, director of Nursing Professional Practice at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Diversifying our staff remains a priority for the hospital.”