Akron Children’s Hospital partners with Kent State nursing students


Barbara Broome (front row, fourth from left), dean of Kent State University’s College of Nursing, and Lisa Aurilio (second from left), vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer at Akron Children’s Hospital, met with the first 20 nursing students chosen to enter the ASCEND program. Six of these students are in Kent State College of Nursing.

Jessa Schroeder

Students from Kent State’s College of Nursing are working with an Akron Children’s Hospital program focusing on traditionally underrepresented groups in the nursing profession.

Assuring Success with a Commitment to Enhance Nurse Diversity, or ASCEND, was developed as a concept two years ago to increase nursing diversity at the hospital.

Lisa Aurilio, vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer at Akron Children’s Hospital, said the program launched in mid-May.

Junior nursing major Luke Sutton said the program stood out to him because it is directed to minority students, and since there is a shortage of male nurses in the profession, he too, is considered a minority.

“I haven’t taken my pediatric rotation yet, so it is going to give me a great head start in the course while also gaining a lot of clinical experience,” he said. “Akron Children’s Hospital is a widely respected institution, so I think this internship will be a great addition to my resume. I want to stand out by having experience and ambition.”

Each student will be given a $5,000 stipend over the course of 10-40 hour workweeks. The students will work with a nursing mentor for 312 hours, and the additional 88 hours will be spent learning about professionalism, resume writing and other aspects of career development.

Among the 20 students, six Kent State nursing students were selected. The students include Kimberly Armentrout, Jamie Burchett, Christopher Lyons, Brittany McIntyre, Luke Sutton and Jiahui Wang.

Sutton said he’s worked nights at the hospital for the past five weeks among children ages 6-12.

“The program is set up to give you an assigned mentor to follow so you are able to work closely and assist the nurse in the nightly routine,” he said. “I also help out the floor with admissions and getting them set up to stay for the night.”

Jiahui Wang, also a senior nursing major at Kent State, said she was interested in the program since she is an international student and usually not allowed to work in hospitals off-campus.

“This is my sixth week working in the hospital,” she said. “I worked in the school-age unit for the first five weeks and just switched to the emergency department. Basically, I just shadow my mentor and observe what he does. This internship does not count for college credit, and we are unlicensed personnel, so there are many restrictions on what we’re allowed to do.”

Aurilio said the goal of the program is give opportunities for people of different backgrounds at Akron Children’s Hospital while exposing students to pediatric nursing in the hopes that they’ll want to possibly work for the hospital after graduation.

“At Akron Children’s, one of the things we’re working on is trying to increase diversity in the nursing population, so we are offering a scholarship to 20 students from Northeast Ohio nursing schools that come to our hospital for clinicals,” she said. “We are looking for minority nurses, whether that be African-Americans, Asians, men, Hispanics (and) first-generation college students.”

Contact Jessa Schroeder at [email protected].