Akron Children’s Hospital Looks to New Program to Increase Diversity Among Nursing Staff

Akron Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital in Northeast Ohio, recently received 20 interns for its children’s program from universities and colleges across the region. The hospital cares for more than 800,000 pediatric patients from Ohio and around the world each year and has earned a Best Children’s Hospital ranking.

Six of the students joining the program this summer are from the Kent State University’s College of Nursing. The students will be full-time interns in the Assuring Success with a Commitment to Enhance Nurse Diversity (ASCEND) program.

This is the first year that the ASCEND program will be rolled out after a two-year development. The goal of the program is to expand the diversity within the Akron Children’s Hospital nursing staff by focusing on “traditionally underrepresented groups in the nursing profession.”

Eligibility requirements include completion of the junior year and good standing in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program, as well as completion of a minimum of one clinical rotation in pediatric and medical surgical nursing.

The six students from Kent State will receive a $5,000 stipend for 10 weeks of interning for 40 hours per week at the children’s hospital. In addition to the stipend, the students will receive valuable hands-on learning from experienced staff members. They will also be eligible to apply for open pediatric nursing positions as the jobs become available.

ASCEND interns will complete up to 312 hours of nursing duties with mentors from one or two pediatric units. An additional 88 hours will cover a variety of topics including priority setting, case study discussions, interviewing skills and teamwork, among others.

Kent State’s College of Nursing dean, Barbara Broome considers the internship a great advantage to the students because of the clinical experience the students receive. She also acknowledges the need for greater diversity within the nursing workforce.