'Nurse T' introduces youngsters to healthcare profession with workshop for kids

This Saturday is the start of Nurses Appreciation Week but — today — the Detroit City Council celebrated a few days earlier — recognizing a local nurse for introducing high schoolers to careers in healthcare.

Her name is Teberah Alexander.  She’s known as "Nurse T" and at Renaissance High School Tuesday, class was in session. This group of high school students was learning how to save lives.

"I’m learning things that everyone should learn even if they’re not in the healthcare field - like we learned things like the heimlich maneuver, CPR." said Breanna Bell, a senior.

"We’ve also learned a lot of things about the human body, and the way diseases affect our patients," said Eric Macon, a junior.

This semester, Renaissance partnered with Excelling Nursing Academy for a pilot program introducing high school juniors and seniors to careers in nursing — free of charge.

"My students here at Renaissance are hungry for knowledge," said Tebarah Alexander. "They’re like a sponge. They want to learn."

Nurse T treated this opportunity to pay it forward. Today the Detroit City Council recognized her with the Spirit of Detroit Award, but she doesn’t do the program for the accolades.

"So many people put down our youth, the children in inner-city schools," said Alexander, CEO of Excelling Nursing Academy. "I am a product of DPS, of Detroit Public Schools. So, because I am successful. I’m sure there are many other more successful students who are here, and it’s my job to reach back and to help those students."

She says being exposed to healthcare at a young age is what led to nursing. Her program teaches students how to care for patients, physically and emotionally.

"Every high school needs a program like this, because more people need to be enlightened by healthcare and caring for people," Macon said.

"Nurse T is a great teacher," Bell said. "She’s very real with everything she says, and I feel like that is very important because this field isn’t going to always be peaches and cream."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the need for registered nurses will grow by 12 percent over the next six years with a shortage of 200,000 nurses by 2025.

Add to that a report from Gallup says only seven percent of current nurses are Black or African-American.  Numbers like that, highlight why Nurse T’s program is valuable.

"The ratio from nurse to patient ratio is very high right now," she said. "And the nurses are being burned out, we’re being overworked in the hospital. Then, that makes the nurses runway from the bedside, and that’s where the compassionate nurses are needed."

This Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Nurse T is having a Future Nurses' Workshop at Renaissance High School for children ages 6 to 13 - and she’s welcoming everyone.  

For  more information, go to thenurseswhocare.com