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Thursday, July 7, 2022


The University of the Virgin Islands federally-funded Searching for Talent and Enhancing Potential for Nursing (STEPNg) program, designed to prepare "educationally disadvantaged" high school students for collegiate success in nursing, is now in its third and final year.
The program, funded by a $558,819 grant, includes a summer pre-nursing course, counseling, tutoring, mentoring and career recruitment along with classes in math, reading and writing. Participants are also required to take a "nursing success" course, which aims to build self-esteem, professionalism, attitude and computer literacy.
"UVI is committed to helping students get to the appropriate levels," STEPNg Project Director Dr. Edith Ramsay-Johnson said. "That's part of the mission- it's about giving people a chance to reach their goal. We help students to achieve the level that is associated with success in college."
Along with Ramsay-Johnson, nursing division faculty members Dr. Judith Grybowski and Dr. Gloria Callwood applied for the grant, which was part of the $10 million UVI received in federal grants this year.
"We have learned that to be an effective nurse our students have to have a very strong sense of self-esteem," Grybowski said. "Those that don't think much of themselves, they're not going to make it through the program."
Forty-three students from St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas have participated in the program so far.
Students interests range from pediatric nursing to working in intensive care units.
Students have visited Roy L. Schneider Hospital, the Sea View Nursing Home and the V.I. Association for Independent Living to gain first hand knowledge of the skills they will need to develop for a nursing career.
"We try to give them a jump start and tell them the things they need to know. We're trying to broaden their horizons," Grybowski said.

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