National Nurses Week: Celebrating 'Nurse T,' who is still helping Detroit kids get into nursing

Posted at 6:07 AM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 06:56:32-04

Last year, we brought you a story about a Detroit nurse expanding horizons by reaching out to kids and exposing them to careers in healthcare.

Now, we're recognizing National Nurses Week by checking in with the program's founder, Teberah Alexander, and kids using the programs to get a jump start in higher education.

Watch my original report below

Meet the woman helping Detroit students learn more about nursing & growing their interest

At Renaissance High School, the students in the CNA program are earning to handle pressure. The program is wrapping up year two and the students are making their mark.

Alexander said she's thrilled with the path of the program and the students.

"I'm so thrilled to be here my second-year teaching CNA class. And just to see their success, to hear their stories," Alexander said.

Screenshot 2024-05-07 at 6.00.16 AM.png

Those stories come from former students like Aniya Lewis, who we met last year as a high school senior, just before she started at the University of Michigan.

"My first year was amazing," Lewis said.

Aniya Lewis.png

In part, she said, because her experience with Nurse T's CNA program at Renaissance, which opened a world of hands-on experience.

In part because of her experience with Nurse T’s CNA program at Renaissance, which opened a world of hands-on experience.

"A hospital or a nursing home, whatever you choose, and you can make a lot more connections, really get that experience," Lewis said.

That's the goal of the Excelling CNA program, to help high school students get an early look at careers in health care and aid them on their journey, whether it's nursing, veterinarian or medicine. Aniya Harris is also heading to U of M Ann Arbor in the fall.

"I'll be majoring in biology, Pre-Med track to become a doctor," Harris said.

Aniya Harris.png

She says the camaraderie with the other students in the program has helped her be the best she can be.

"It really brought out the best of me because of the group of people I was in, and I learned a lot," she said.

Nadia Whitney is another senior at Renaissance attending U-M in the fall.

"It kind of creates that nurturing environment where it's easy for everybody to grow," she said.

Screenshot 2024-05-07 at 6.02.50 AM.png

Nadia and both Aniyas can continue supporting each other in the fall in Ann Arbor. But fellow Excelling CNA participant Makayla Blackwell, who we also met last year, is going a different path.

"I'm going to Wayne State University, and I got into the direct admission program, and it's only 15 of us out of 5,000 applicants," Blackwell said.

Screenshot 2024-05-07 at 6.03.15 AM.png

"How does that make you feel?" I asked.

"It makes me feel very accomplished. And I would just like to thank Nurse T for helping me believe in myself," she said.

A Renaissance high grad herself, Nurse T has big hopes that extend far beyond the halls of her Alma Mater.

"I hope to one day have this program in every Detroit public school so we can actually expose these children, starting from five years old, high school on," she said.

If you think 5 is young, kids are already seeing their doctors and nurses at the pediatrician’s office but they may not see themselves in those roles. So, exposing kids to careers in healthcare at an early age can transform how they see themselves today and in the future.

It was a thrill to follow up with Aniya Lewis and Makayla to see their success.