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White Plains Hospital Gives Nursing Students Edge

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains Hospital held a graduation ceremony Friday for 22 nursing students from local high schools and colleges who completed its Nurse Apprenticeship Program, which has helped many secure jobs at the hospital.

By the end of 2012, nearly 50 students who have participated in the program since its inception in 2006 will have found jobs at White Plains Hospital after graduating college and becoming certified as registered nurses, said Annie Norris, program counselor and coordinator.

During the seven-week apprenticeship, students work Monday through Friday, observing nurses and how they interact with each department in the hospital. By the end of their time, students have seen procedures including robotic surgery, C-sections, natural births, pacemaker insertions, stage 4 ulcer cleansing, and much more.

“These students really have seen it all,” said program co-coordinator Monica Purdy. “What they’ve seen, very often, are things that senior nursing students, when graduating from nursing school, haven’t seen. It really will put you at an advantage.”

“This program has truly changed my life and reassured me why I want to become a nurse,” said Bianca Acuna, who will be attending Pace University in the fall.

The program was initially funded by a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Originally meant to address a nursing shortage, the program now helps students find jobs right out of college in a tough job market.

Students who graduate can go on to become associates in the program. Whereas apprentices only observe procedures, associates, like Vinny Jacopino, can assist in certain cases.

Jacopino, 22, of Bronxville, attends Nyack College and will graduate in 2013. When he does, Norris said, a job might very well be waiting for him in White Plains Hospital’s orthopedics department.

“It gets your foot in the door,” Jacopino said of the program. “It really gives you a sense of what it’s all about, and the program made me say, ‘this is what I want.’”

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