June 29, 2022 | Mayaguez, Puerto Rico | Lorell Varela and Inter-American Division News

Forty-nine graduates of the nursing program of Antillean Adventist University (AAU) in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, an institution operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, were recently recruited by the AdventHealth Systems in Florida thanks to a recent collaboration agreement. Nursing graduates received offers for full-time career development positions, and will be provided support in the licensing process in the United States, as well as housing, transportation, a sign-on bonus and other benefits, university leaders said.

“We are proud that our university has been selected by AdventHealth for this recruitment initiative, as it not only recognized the quality of our teaching, but also for the qualities that characterize our graduates,” said Dr. Myrna Colon, president of AAU.

Nursing students take part in graduation ceremony at Antillean Adventist University in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, June 28, 2022. [Photo: Antillean Adventist University]

AAU was praised by AdventHealth officials for its accreditations and curricular alignment with professional skills, and its nursing graduates as bilingual professionals prepared for service which ease in successfully perform in their system. The non-profit health system operates 51 hospitals, more than 35 post-acute sites, and more than 100 ambulatory sites in nine states across the United States. Officials  highlighted the mission, vision and institutional values, as part of the reasons AdventHealth chose the Adventist university for their partnership agreement.

The partnership between AAU and AdventHealth was formed as a growing need for nurses, said Stephen Smith, heritage recruitment strategy manager for AdventHealth. “AdventHealth wanted to partner with Antillean because it felt that the mission of Antillean very closely aligns with the mission of AdventHealth, which is to extend the healing ministry of Christ,” he said.

Leaders from the AdventHealth Kissimmee location, the pilot site for the partnership, toured university grounds during the first visit in November 2021, and spoke to students about internship and residency programs and held a signing event where jobs were offered, said Smith. “As students near the end of their nursing programs they have the opportunity to become AdventHealth team members as nurses or in others positions,” said Smith.

A group of recruited nursing students from Antillean Adventist University to work at AdventHealth Florida show off their gifted backpacks during a meeting session on campus on November 2022. The event was part of a recent collaborative agreement between both institutions to recruit nursing students to work full-time jobs at AdventHealth systems. [Photo: AdventHealth]

Both institutions have worked collaboratively in the past and continue to periodically renew some agreements, said Dr. Amarilys Irizarry, dean of the School of Health and Sciences at AAU. As part of the  collaboration agreement recently made, nursing students will be offered a free test review for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam tests the competency of nursing school graduates in the U.S. and Canada and is administered by the National Board of State Boards of Nursing (BCSBN), she said.

“Our graduates from the bachelor of science programs in respiratory therapy, as well as those of the nursing program, are known for their high passing score on the licensing exam in Puerto Rico,” Irizarry said. The School of Health and Sciences sees an average of 120 nursing students and 15 students in the respiratory therapy programs every year, she said.

Both institutions are committed to continuing to develop this collaboration to include additional resources for students, a professional development plan for the AAU faculty as well as to expand opportunities for graduates, not only in the nursing but in the respiratory therapy program as well, Dr. Colon said.

Plans are underway to hold an AdventHealth Career Expo in Puerto Rico soon, where managers will be present to conduct on-site interviews and make same-day job offers, Smith said.

Established in 1961, Antillean Adventist University is accredited by the Adventist Accrediting Association, Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSACSS) and Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), offers dozens of undergraduate and graduate degrees on its campus in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

To learn more about undergraduate and graduate programs at Antillean Adventist University, visit uaa.edu

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