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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

The path to nursing starts in 9th grade

Girls from lower-income families all want to be nurses, the community college dean told me. Few make it. They fail the science and math pre-reqs.


Rhode Island Nurses Institute students volunteered at a community health fair.

Rhode Island Nurses Institute (RINI), a charter high school in Providence, is preparing students for medical careers, starting in ninth grade, writes Greg Toppo on The 74.


Some earn college credits while still in high school, Many earn certified nursing assistant (CNA) licenses and work part-time at nursing homes.

"Because the school partners with local health care organizations, students routinely graduate with 40 hours of clinical rotations and a 40-hour internship already on their resumes," writes Toppo.

Jajacob Santiago, a junior, earns $20 per hour as a CNA, and expects to make $25 to $30 an hour when he earns a permanent license. He hope to work his way through college to become a physician's assistant, and eventually a pediatrician.


More than 90 percent of RINI students are female. Two-thirds are Hispanic and one-quarter are black.

Demand is high for nurses. A RINI-style school is opening in Albany, New York, and others are in the works.

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