Mentorship Program Established For FAMU Nursing Students

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can,” John Wesley, theologian.

This was the mantra that Eartha M.M. White lived by, and the quote that set Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Trustee Cleve Warren into action.April 6th, 2016.

studentsPhonephotos-9254(L to R) FAMU BOT Chairman Cleve Warren and Pierre Allaire, Chief Development Officer for the Baptist Health Foundation.

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can,” John Wesley, theologian.

This was the mantra that Eartha M.M. White lived by, and the quote that set Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Trustee Cleve Warren into action.

Warren is the current chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees and a board member on both the Eartha M.M. White Legacy Fund Board and Baptist Health Foundation board. With funding received through each entity’s foundation, Warren helped pioneer an endowed preceptorship (clinical) program that allows top FAMU nursing students to travel to Jacksonville, Fla. to obtain clinical hours at Baptist Health Medical Center.

Diane Raines, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Baptist Health, said it was Warren’s determination coupled with the prestigious reputation of the FAMU School of Nursing that made this program come to fruition.

“The reason we were interested first of all, was our great respect for Mr. Warren, who works with our hospital, and his passion about it,” Raines said. “But the other thing is, we didn’t have FAMU students here, and FAMU is well known throughout the state for its nursing program. So for us it was a chance to do good, but honestly it was also a chance for us to be exposed to the best of the best students, and a chance to recruit them.”

Ventasia Smith, Rosemary Githiiyu, Kia Small, and Jasmine Smith were the four nursing students selected to participate in the first class to participate in the FAMU-Baptist Health preceptorship program.

With weeks of immersion training under their belts, and a host of knowledge acquired from their classes, the aspiring nurses said they are feeling more prepared than ever to graduate on April 30.

Ventasia Smith said her experience at Baptist Health helped bridge the gap between being a student and a professional. Upon graduation, Smith said she is feeling more confident than ever, and owes it all to FAMU, Baptist Health, and Trustee Warren.

“Connecting what we learned in class and actually doing it here, that was the light bulb going off moment,” Smith explained. “But thankfully, with the exceptional teachers that we have, with the exceptional experience that we get at FAMU, it wasn’t really hard to transition.”

She added, “Coming here, I feel way more prepared. Knowing I was one of the first people who got to experience this is just amazing, and the fact that Trustee Warren brought this relationship about, I’m just so very grateful.”

During the final days of their stay in Jacksonville, Warren visited with the nursing students. He shared with them some professional advice, and told the aspiring nurses that they are more than deserving of all of the opportunities that are coming their way.

“You know in physics matter is anything that has weight and occupies space,” Warren told the students. “For you, you are matter. You matter, and the space you’re in, you own it, so live in it like you own it. Don’t let anybody push you out of the way,” he said.

According to Brandi Joseph, assistant nurse manager at Baptist Health and FAMU alumna, the FAMU School of Nursing is truly a place that makes you feel like you matter.

Joseph, who was on-hand to share her experience as a Baptist Health nurse with the students, said the FAMU nursing program molded her into the nurse she is today.

“FAMU’s nursing program kicked my butt, but once I got out and got my license I saw the difference in a FAMU nurse compared to other nurses,” Joseph explained. “FAMU instills something in your heart, and it shows in the way you care for your patients.”

After meeting with the four future FAMU School of Nursing graduates, Joseph said it became evident that they are ready to show the world what FAMU nurses are all about.

“When I met with them, I told them, ‘you are a FAMU nurse so you need to walk the walk and talk the talk and be that FAMU nurse on the floor,’” Joseph said. “I know FAMU prepared them well, so now it’s time for them to take the wealth of knowledge that they learned and apply it to what they’re doing every day.”