Find out how The Foundation is helping the Junior and Senior Nursing Academies pave the way for aspiring medical professionals.

Sandy Young, Clinical Resources Director at Thomas Memorial Hospital, is a busy woman.

Not only is she responsible for driving positive change through clinical nursing programs and leading initiatives that support Thomas Health, but she has spearheaded a project over the last decade that has grown in success and reputation each year: the Junior and Senior Nursing Academy Program.

The initiative is an extensive four-day program where students shadow real medical professionals and learn basic nursing skills through a one-on-one nurse mentoring-styled approach. This Thomas Health program, the only one of its kind in the area, is an opportunity for students to experience nursing first hand, to build confidence in their career paths, and ultimately create future nursing leaders. Sandy Young said, “It would be impossible for us to do these programs without the Foundation’s support. An annual grant from the Foundation helps offset the cost of approximately $140 per student.  In 2018, we had 185 students and the interest continues to grow. We now have a number of nursing students in colleges throughout the state that are first-generation Nursing Academy students. One that comes to mind is a student who is in a Music Therapy program at Ohio State University.”

Sandy commented, “Without the Foundation, these kids, so full of potential, may not have realized their true passions in life, which is to be medical professionals.”

Tamara Feldhaus, mother of Zoie Feldhaus, a student enrolled in the Nursing Academy program for two years, shared the impact the program has made on her daughter who learned of the program through her teacher at Poca Middle School.

Mrs. Feldhaus credits the program for helping her daughter see a variety of healthcare-related jobs at a young age to help guide her decision-making while in high school.

“As her parents, we enjoyed when she would come home and tell us the amazing heartfelt experiences she was able to have due to this program. Every evening she would excitedly tell us all about her day, share pictures, and couldn’t wait to go back the next morning,” said Mrs. Feldhaus.  “It’s always a great thing when your child has an opportunity to be part of something to direct her to a career as she prepares for life after high school.” The young people who attend the Junior and Senior Nursing Academy leave with confidence and assurance of what they want to do or not do.  Zoie, who has always had aspirations about being in the medical field, is interested in becoming an Anesthesiologist. She said the Foundation-funded program has been extremely helpful, and she plans to continue her education to strive to meet her goal.

Sandy Young, Clinical Resources Director and leader of the Nursing Academy Program at Thomas Memorial Hospital
Zoie Feldhaus, recent Nursing Academy attendee and advocate