Texas Health Resources’ Youth Prodigy Program offers potentially life-changing opportunities for high school students interested in becoming a registered nurse. Students may apply for the program on the program website, TexasHealth.org/Prodigy, starting Jan. 18. Applications are due by Feb. 18.
An information session for the program will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Texas Health Resources, 612 E. Lamar Blvd., in Arlington. Reservations must be made at the Prodigy website.
Administered by Texas Health’s Center for Learning & Career Development, the Prodigy Program is designed to attract young people to the nursing profession and to alleviate a nursing shortage that will continue to worsen as baby boomers reach retirement. The program offers education and employment to high-school graduates who are interested in pursuing an associate degree in nursing prior to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
The program offers paid summer training and part-time job placement. Students work part-time at a Texas Health hospital while attending school, and Texas Health’s Tuition Reimbursement Program helps cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and related supplies.
Once students have completed eight to 10 weeks of summer training and pass a national patient care technician certification exam, they apply for part-time positions at Texas Health facilities. These paid, part-time positions afford them the same benefits as any other part-time Texas Health employee.
Among Prodigy participants who have benefitted from the program are sisters Samantha Liu, R.N., and Christina Liu. The sisters both work at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano – Samantha as a registered nurse, Christina as a patient care technician on her way to becoming a nurse.
“I never would have thought that we both would end up working at the same place, let alone have the same profession,” Christina said. “Nursing wasn’t on the radar for either of us, and our personalities are very different. But once Samantha got into the Prodigy Program I became interested too. I love my job as a PCT, and can’t wait to be a nurse. I am so glad that my sister and I have been able to go through the Prodigy Program.”
Christina works in the telemetry unit at Texas Health Plano, while Samantha cares for patients in the bariatric unit.
“Graduating as a registered nurse was one of my proudest moments,” Samantha said. “I love how there is so much variety in my career, and the opportunity that the Prodigy Program offered me by letting me work in different patient care areas, and get to know the hospital and medical system when I was a PCT. I’m looking forward to continuing my education and career here at Texas Health Plano.”
Helping high school students such as the Liu sisters fulfill their dreams of a career in nursing is key to the Prodigy Program, said Kevin Kiley, manager of career and management development at Texas Health.
“It’s so amazing to see the life-changing transformations that take place within our Prodigy students every year,” Kiley said. “These young women and men go from newly graduated high schoolers to true health care professionals in a matter of weeks, and then they’re off and running toward a career in nursing. The Youth Prodigy Program is a win-win for the students and Texas Health.”
Kiley said attendance at the Jan. 18 information session is not required to apply to the program. However, the event is the best opportunity for candidates to get all their questions answered, as faculty, program administrators and past Prodigy students will be present. Due to space limitations, each candidate may bring only one parent or guardian, and a reservation is required to attend.
To find out more about the Youth Prodigy Program, visit TexasHealth.org/Prodigy.