Troy’s School of Nursing holds Signing Day Ceremony

Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Troy University’s School of Nursing held its inaugural Signing Day event at Hawkins Hall on campus Tuesday, Jan. 10, with 28 students being accepted into the Nursing Student Apprentice Program.

The Nursing Student Apprentice Program is a collaboration between Troy University, the Alabama Board of Nursing and Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. The granted program from the state will allow students to earn wages, while they perform their required clinical hours for a nursing degree.

Nursing students that apply for the program are evaluated by clinical agencies that have partnered with the school to act as their employees in the program. Flowers Hospital in Dothan and Baptist Health Medical Center in Montgomery partnered with the university for the inaugural signing class.

Troy University BSN Coordinator Teresa Law said she hopes this program will continue every semester. (Photos by Josh Boutwell)

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“That on-the-job learning can count as their clinical experience and gives them one-on-one mentorship with an individual employee at that agency, while also being able to earn wages through that on-the-job learning,” Troy University Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Coordinator Teresa Law said. “This was a very select group of students that were evaluated by the agencies that applied for this opportunity and have been selected to take part in it.”

Law said the aspect of student nurses being paid for their clinical hours is a first.

“It is a new element for them to get paid,” Law emphasized. “Traditionally, our nursing students have not gotten paid for any of their clinical time. The State of Alabama has recognized those financial barriers as something they have to overcome. This allows the students to finish their clinical hours and get paid for that time, reducing that financial barrier and giving our local agencies a potential future employee.”

The program benefits the university and students alike. Typically, eight or more students are taken on clinical rotations with an instructor, but the students in the apprenticeship program will be assigned a nurse at their agency for one-on-one experience.

“Each apprentice will be assigned to an expert nurse and as long as they are doing their clinicals, they will always be with that nurse until they graduate,” Baptist Health Chief Learning Officer Judi Miller said. “Getting that real hands-on experience working with a professional nurse in a clinical setting is huge. Most of us didn’t have that type of opportunity in nursing school.”

Enterprise’s Maddison Bragg will be working with Baptisth Health.

Of the 28 Troy nursing students that were selected for the program, 21 will work with Baptist Health and the other seven will work with Flowers Hospital. Maddison Bragg (Enterprise), Mary Brewer (Troy), Sarah Calhoun (Troy), Kameryn Daniel (Prattville), Kayley Garner (Auburn), Ryleigh Gilliland (Thorsby), Alyssa Grant (Hope Hull), Kayla Green (Troy), Macey Gale Hall (Troy), Raven Hayes (Troy), Katelyn Henderson (Alexander City), Caitlyn Hughes (Troy), Molly Johnson (Anniston), Jordan King (Montgomery), Makenna Mills (Troy), Aniya Parker (Montgomery), Malena Ramsey (Troy), Mary Katherine Salter (Georgiana), Mya Stringer (Lapine), Alicia Victoria (Troy) and Laney Weed (Pike Road) will work with Baptist Health.

Christian Wilson (Ariton), Katelyn Gamble (Glenwood), Cassidy Garrard (Headland), Macey Genea Hall (Troy), Michaela Meadows (Cottonwood), Hannah Williams (Troy) and Danielle Holley (Enterprise) will work with Flowers Hospital in Dothan.

This apprenticeship program will also benefit nursing in the state, as a whole. According to Law, Alabama is the first state in the nation to institute the apprenticeship program and Troy University is one of the first schools to implement it.

“This is really an exciting day for us,” Miller said. “I think most people are aware that there is a significant shortage of nurses. Coming out of the pandemic, we’re feeling that even more so than before. So, this is an opportunity to bring on board these apprentices to have with us that are going through nursing school. We are so excited to be a part of this program.”

Enterprise native Danielle Holley will be working with Flowers Hospital.

Flowers Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Dan Cumbie shared in Wilson’s excitement for the program.

“For me, personally, this is a full circle moment because I’m a Troy graduate myself,” he said. “What this means for us is, it’s a great partnership between Troy University and Flowers Hospital, and it’s helping to try and solve that nursing shortage. We’ve always been a little short on nurses but it was magnified with COVID. This is a big step in the right direction to catch up on that shortage.”

The Troy students signed their apprenticeship agreement with their agency on stage at the university, much like an athletic signing. Law said that the school hopes to have a signing ceremony like the one this week every semester as more and more nursing students are accepted into the apprenticeship program.