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Inspiring a New Generation of Nurses [Short Documentary]

The Mini Nurse Academy introduces elementary students to careers in nursing, with the aim of introducing children to career options early and diversifying the healthcare workforce.


Health Equity

Diversifying the healthcare workforce starts young, as early as third grade, to be exact. That’s the age the National Black Nurses Association, or NBNA, is betting on with their Mini Nursing Academy, which aims to introduce Black and brown elementary school-age children to the roles of nursing, in the hopes that they’ll one day join the healthcare workforce. Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity provided the initial funding to the NBNA to create a pilot eight-week afterschool program.

“If we’re going to be serious about improving diversity within the nursing workforce, then we have to move back to those younger grades and begin to educate and inspire,” said Dr. Martha Dawson, National Black Nurses Association President. The program, which will provide academies in 10 schools through NBNA’s local chapters, introduces students in grades three through six to basic health concepts and what nurses do each day.

Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity supported the National Black Nurses Association with a $248,000 grant for the Mini Nursing Academy. The organization also received $100,000 from Direct Relief’s Covid-19 Response Fund for Community Health for pandemic response efforts. Direct Relief and Emmy-nominated Filmmaker Olly Riley-Smith joined the Mini Nurse Academy in Birmingham, Alabama, as the nurses worked with children in the program.

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