Support future health professionals

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2019

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Our youth are the hope for our future. When we choose to support the development of young people, we are choosing to cultivate our future leaders and professionals. We all have the opportunity to undergird the success of our developing citizens by participating in Give Local 757.

Hampton Roads’ sixth annual Give Local 757 is May 14. On this day, everyone can be a philanthropist. There are several local causes to support and several reasons to do so.

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One of the organizations listed in the Give Local 757 database is Nursing CAP Inc. More than 45 students in Suffolk Public Schools participate in the Nursing Careers and Pathways program on a monthly basis from September through June of the school year. The program is led by certified registered nurse anesthetist and 30-year health career veteran Regina McKinney. Nursing CAP Inc. exposes our youth to potential pathways to becoming health professionals. The program was established in 2013 and continues today through the support of its board, adult volunteers and local supporters such as the Obici Healthcare Foundation.

The Association of American Medical Colleges reported in April 2018 that the growing, aging population of active physicians over the age of 65 projects a shortage of medical care professionals by 2030 and increased demand for the training of health care professionals. Nurses make up the largest section of health professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) projects 1.1 million additional nurses are needed to avoid further shortages. To meet the needs of patient care across our nation, young people must pursue careers in health and medicine.

Studies show that several medical schools and nurse training programs use peer-to-peer mentoring in their clinical practicums. Modeling this evidence, the leaders of the Nursing CAP program incorporated peer mentoring to develop leadership skills and model positive peer influences. The program also provides tutoring sessions in math and science for enrolled students.

King’s Fork High School senior Kathleen Amoo has personally experienced the benefit of the Nursing CAP’s peer leadership. She joined Nursing CAP Inc. in her senior year and improved her grades, which led to her acceptance to Virginia State University.

Travon Brown is a graduating senior at Lakeland High School and Project Lead the Way Biomedical student. He joined the Nursing CAP program because a fellow classmate influenced him to do so. He knew that he wanted to pursue a health career but was not sure exactly which profession “until Nursing CAP provided me with information about the different career fields and avenues available in the health industry.” Travon has committed to Virginia Commonwealth University for fall enrollment. He says, “The community of Nursing CAP is very supportive and encourages you to be nothing less than your best.”

That supportive network seems to foster close connections. Nia Cook is a college student who faithfully volunteers with the Nursing CAP program. She graduates from Old Dominion University on May 11 with a bachelor’s degree in health services administration. She says that the students in the program helped her keep the faith in pursuit of her degree. “The determination I see in the younger students solidified for me that I have chosen the right career.”

Lakeland High School senior and Project Lead the Way Biomedical student Kenya Rivers has accepted a $16,000 merit scholarship to attend Old Dominion University. Kenya plans to major in biology at ODU. She has been an active participant in the Nursing CAP program since eighth grade. Kenya says that this supportive community gave her an opportunity to model leadership and positive actions for other youth. While she is attending Old Dominion University, she looks forward to a continued relationship with Nursing CAP.

Kathleen, Travon, Nia and Kenya are our future. Donors can support these future health professionals by visiting and insert Nursing CAP Inc. to submit an online donation. Monetary donations are one way to support. Tutors in science and math are needed also. Businesses may elect to donate computer equipment, snacks or water or travel expenses, or sponsor a field trip. Whatever your choice, make a decision to be a philanthropist on May 14. We can cultivate our future leaders in our community with a gift to the organizations that shape them.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.