Middle Tennessee High School Students Begin Exploring Healthcare Careers Through Innovative New Program


Ascension Saint Thomas recognized the inaugural class of Ascension Saint Thomas Work-Based Learning, a new year-long program designed to prepare students from Metro Nashville Public Schools and Rutherford County Schools for diverse careers in healthcare.

20 high school seniors from Cane Ridge High School, John Overton High School, Maplewood High School, Pearl-Cohn High School, and Smyrna High School successfully completed the fall semester of the program, which ran from August to December 2022, and are poised to begin their spring semester this week. Participating students earn class credit and are paid hourly as they work a minimum of 10 hours per week at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital Midtown or West campuses in Nashville, Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford in Murfreesboro, or one of the Ascension Medical Group Saint Thomas sites of care around Middle Tennessee.

Students perform patient transfers, transport specimens and equipment, provide basic patient care under supervision, shadow various departments, receive career coaching, and much more. Upon program completion, cohort members are encouraged to continue their healthcare careers by pursuing higher education opportunities or by applying for open positions at Ascension Saint Thomas facilities.

“Ascension Saint Thomas is helping our students learn important job skills while they earn academic credit and a steady income – all of which are incredibly important building blocks of a successful life after high school,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, director, Metro Nashville Public Schools. “We greatly appreciate the opportunities Ascension Saint Thomas is providing our students through this innovative partnership.”

“Work-based learning partnerships are critical for our students to continue growing and exploring community-based work opportunities,” said Dr. Jimmy Sullivan, director, Rutherford County Schools. “Having our students work with Ascension Saint Thomas to gain experience and direction in the medical field before graduation is an excellent opportunity for them and for us.”

“It has been a joy to see these hard-working teenagers step into fast-paced workplaces and make meaningful contributions to our interdisciplinary teams,” said Jill Guinness, nursing intern manager, Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital Midtown. “We are excited to help the young learners navigate their first healthcare roles and build strong foundations for their future success.”

Ascension Saint Thomas, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Rutherford County Schools are pleased to recognize the following students as members of the inaugural cohort of the Ascension Saint Thomas Work-Based Learning Program: Jounir Awadalla, Lashonty Beal, Mariposa Cardenas, Sara Elkommos-Zakhary, A’saih Fuqua, Scarlett Galvan, Aeh Htoo, Kennedy Hunter, LaShay Johnson, Elyissa Leavens, Joya Lewis, Kobi Mathews, Trinity Mills, Jerkeila Moore, Mu Muang, Kira Norton, Aaleigha Reeves, Skylar Reid, A’Yana Thompson, and Ariel Woods.

About Ascension Saint Thomas
Ascension Saint Thomas operates 12 hospitals in Tennessee and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 45-county area and provided more than $180 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2022. Across the state, Ascension Saint Thomas and its affiliates employ more than 10,700 associates. The health system has a 125-year history in Tennessee. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable, through its more than 2,600 sites of care in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

About Rutherford County Schools 
Rutherford County Schools consistently ranks among the best school districts in Tennessee and has outpaced national rankings on a number of measures. Rutherford County is one of the fastest growing school districts in Tennessee and the fourth largest behind those in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. Since the 2002-2003 school year, Rutherford County Schools has added more than 20,000 students for a total enrollment of more than 50,000 students, not including pre-kindergarteners. Despite the county’s tremendous growth rate and the accompanying challenges, Rutherford County Schools has served as a model for many other districts in the areas of academics, planning and safety measures.

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