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Ten Virgin Islanders Finish Graduate Nurse Program

Dec. 17, 2004- Ten local nursing students were honored last week for completing the Graduate Nurse Intern Program at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
The students, all graduates of the University of the Virgin Islands baccalaureate nursing program, spent about 12 weeks in intensive training and education to prepare for their NCLEX (National Council of Licensure and Examination for Registered Nurses) exam. All will work in various areas of the Roy L. Schneider Hospital for at least two years, according to a release.
They are Natalie Anthony, Alexandria Bradley, Maureen Fleming, Rosemarie Gumbs, Jennifer King, Julie Matthew, Ellen Marshall, Kikou Martin, Selma Rubaine, and Geraldine Walters-Buncome.
Cynthia Rice, Program Director for the New Hire Support Programs at RLSH, said in the beginning of Thursday's ceremony that "the nursing profession is in the midst of its longest and most severe shortage ever," so nurse recruitment and retention programs are very important to community hospitals experiencing this crisis.
Since its beginning in March 2003, the Graduate Nurse Intern Program has brought in 20 new registered nurses working in the hospital, the majority from the Virgin Islands. This program has saved the hospital an estimated $750,000 in traveling nursing costs, according to the release.
"This program has produced some outstanding graduates, nurses, and future RNs," said Rodney E. Miller Sr., hospital CEO and president. "This is an amazing program – who would have thought it would produce 20 RNs in less than two years?"
Angela-Rennalls-Atkinson, Vice-President of Patient Care Services at RLSH, told the graduates present: "When you went through your baccalaureate program, you went through it to become nurses. You may not have all attained the license as yet, and those who have not, are working on taking your exam to become licensed. You deserve all our congratulations…you are an important part of this hospital, and a necessary part of this hospital."
At the end of the ceremony, the 10 graduates received a special plaque, an RN pin, and a pen light. For her leadership in directing the New Hire Support Program, Cynthia Rice was awarded a three-day stay at the Westin Resort & Villas on St. John.

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