Friday April 18th 2014

First nursing charter school opens in Rhode Island

Nicole Cardello, a student at the RINI Middle College Charter School, addresses the attendees at the school’s opening ceremony.

The Rhode Island Nurses Institute (RINI) Middle College Charter School recently opened its doors to the public as part of an official celebration recognizing this landmark approach to enticing more young people into nursing careers.

The school allows secondary students interested in nursing and health care to earn a high school degree and college credit. The school started Sept. 7, and is serving more than 130 students in its inaugural year.

Proposed by the R.I. Nurses Institute and given final approval this summer by the R.I. board of regents, the Middle College Charter School is designed to immerse high school students in the setting and structure of a college learning environment. The school’s curriculum challenges students to earn a high school diploma, certified nursing assistant’s credential, and will help better prepare students for a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

The mission of the Rhode Island Nurses Institute (RINI) is to promote optimal health care for the citizens of Rhode Island by supporting and advancing the profession of nursing. RINI works in concert with the Rhode Island State Nurses Association (RISNA) to meet goals through fundraising, grant writing, and stewardship of entrusted funds.

“This groundbreaking program has the potential to play a critical role in preparing the next generation of nurses and help us meet our workforce needs in growing industries like health care,” said Congressman James Langevin (D-RI) who recently hosted a workforce development roundtable with leaders in the state’s nursing community. “We must give our students the necessary skill sets to compete for jobs in innovative fields and revitalize Rhode Island’s competitiveness for a 21st century economy.”

The four-year degree that students earn includes eight semesters of work, as well as summer sessions and January intercession, and provides concentrated study in writing, math, computer, capstone projects, portfolio compilation, career exploration, and study skills. Courses taken at the colleges are determined by the students’ readiness and interest, as well as approval by the college or university.

Courses taken at the college level count for credit at both institutions, and are taught at both the RINI Middle College Charter School campus as well as local college campuses. The goal for each student is to gain entrance to a college of nursing (two- or four-year institution) and to arrive on campus with their general education requirements fulfilled.

For more information, go to www.tomorrowsnurses.org.

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