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Boot Camp Kick-starts a Diversity of Nursing Careers

Posted: 9/30/2010

The latest recruits in the nursing workforce have arrived, and are looking to their boot camp instructors -- faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing -- to transform them from civilians to nurse leaders. 

"Leadership isn't just a personality trait -- it's also a learned behavior," says associate professor Linda Rose, PhD, RN.   "Were doing everything we can to set these students up for success." 

Rose directs the Leadership, Excellence, Achievement, Diversity, and Success (LEADS) program at JHUSON.  Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the program finances scholarships for baccalaureate-level nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds or underrepresented groups.  The two-day boot camp is designed to kick-start their nursing career.

LEADS scholar Sung Cho was impressed that the faculty "took the time to inspire us to dream grander dreams than we had ever believed possible."  Cho, who has pursued careers in teaching, sales, and as a medical assistant, wants to "spend the rest of my natural life making an impact on those who are most vulnerable -- the sick -- by being their vigilant advocate."

Nneka Benjamin is also in the LEADS program to "promote wellness" and "make a difference in patients' lives."  For her, meeting the faculty -- "with their unique experiences, interests, and perspectives" -- was the best part of boot camp. 

For some students, boot camp reinforced their commitment to their nursing path.  For others, like Mark Pitcairn, it has opened new doors. "I enrolled in this program thinking purely of working directly with patients," he says, "but learning about faculty research projects -- and how that research can improve the health of large populations -- got me interested in research."

One thing all the students agree on: they can't wait to learn more.  "I look forward to all that I will learn about nursing," says Benjamin.  "I'm sure that I will learn as much about myself as I will about my patients."  "At Hopkins, adds Cho, she expects to "learn from the best in the field so that I can make the greatest contribution I can."

To learn more about the LEADS program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, contact Linda Rose at lrose2@son.jhmi.edu or 410-614-4544.