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Modestine Fain Builds the Nursing Workforce by Reaching Out to the Community

Modestine Fain, Director of Rehabilitation Services, Community Hospital of Los Gatos

In 2003, Modestine Fain, past president, of the National Black Nurses Association’s South Bay Chapter, chaired their annual kick-off meeting and led the goal setting discussion. Building the nursing workforce base was an obvious priority. As the discussions continued, Modestine recalls reading an article in NurseWeek Magazine, about RNs participating in community outreach to students. Modestine’s idea began to take shape.

The Coalition for Nursing Careers in California (CNCC) RN Ambassador Program is a grassroots Call-to-Action to address the nursing shortage and Registered Nurses responded. The NurseWeek article “Generation RN” highlighted an RN Ambassador and described outreach as a means to influence the next generation of nurses by raising awareness of the many professional avenues and the opportunities to make a difference as a Registered Nurse.

To support and facilitate the outreach activities, age-specific presentation tools, and other collateral were developed. In addition, the CNCC’s chooseNursing.com web site presented another source for accurate and current information for parents and students. Modestine explains, “What was so great about the RN Ambassador presentation tools, is that they were completely ready to use, our members didn’t have to create a presentation or any collateral. This made it easy for our members to go out into the community, to their neighborhood schools and churches and talk about the opportunities in nursing without delay.”

The RN Ambassador Program was perfect for our association’s goals – the program would support our initiative of building a base for nursing,” Modestine further explains. “The age-specific presentation tools engaged our audience and made for a lively discussion. The elementary school children were jumping out of their seats to answer the presentation’s quiz.”

Modestine and her association not only accomplished their goals, but through their initial efforts they were now faced with a new opportunity. “The teachers and counselors started asking if their students could visit a hospital to meet real nurses.” Since Modestine worked at Community Hospital of Los Gatos as Director of Rehabilitation Services, she brought the idea to Barbara van Amburg, Director of Nursing. Together they created a program in which students could visit the hospital to meet nurses during a lunch session followed by a tour of the hospital units.

“This program provided students with the opportunity to speak directly to nurses, observe nurses in practice, and obtain firsthand information. Teenagers always want to know about salaries and all the various settings in which nurses provide care and practice.” explains Modestine. “We have a hospital tour that includes pediatrics, med/surgery and rehab, for example.”

But the story doesn’t end here. Barbara presented the RN Ambassador Program to the staff nurses at the Community Hospital of Los Gatos’ annual Nurses Week luncheon. Barbara explains, “It was terrific, downloading the tools was so easy. We created ready-made packets to hand out to our nurses along with the RN Ambassador lapel pin. The response was so positive.”

The next phase for the Community Hospital of Los Gatos is to identify a staff nurse to champion the RN Ambassador Program and continue to encourage enrollment as RN Ambassadors. Modestine plans to seek assistance from the Business Development and Marketing departments to promote the campaign. “The word needs to get out about the RN Ambassador Program, it’s a great way to promote nursing. I plan to email our employees to encourage them to sign up to become RN Ambassadors and I’ll also to place flyers in our hospital.”

Modestine and the Community Hospital of Los Gatos have certainly responded to the Call-to Action.

Release Date: May 3, 2004

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