WASHINGTON - There's a national nursing shortage, but one local school is helping to make sure our region gets the care it needs.
Over a third of current nurses plan to leave their job by the end of 2022, according to Incredible Health – a national nursing recruiter.
On Wednesday, the Academy of Hope – an adult public charter school off Alabama Avenue in Southeast D.C. – certified 12 brand-new nursing assistants.
Many of the graduates overcame health crises or family issues that delayed their education. But on Wednesday, they finally got to turn the tassel.
"It was a childhood dream of mine," said Stacie Burrell, a new graduate. "I've always wanted to take care of people. Then my dad passed, and that made me want it more. And my mom is my only parent left, and she's going to get up there in age, and she's going to need me."
Sibley Hospital visited the Academy of Hope to hand out gifts to the new graduates and recruit D.C.'s newest CNAs. Graduates from this program work in local hospitals like Sibley, GW, and Ingleside, but also find work in nursing homes, and doctor's offices.
Academy of Hope CEO Lecester Johnson says a CNA is just the beginning for many graduates. It opens doors to additional nursing and healthcare degrees. The school is adding a medical assistant certification program starting in 2023.
In May, thousands of nurses marched in D.C. to raise awareness of the national shortage and the hardships nurses face like caps on pay and limited time off. The graduates we spoke to this afternoon are clear-eyed about the field they're entering and still excited about what comes next.