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 health system in Florida, United States, thanks to a recent collaboration agreement.
Nursing graduates received offers for full-time career development positions and will be provided support for the licensing process in the U.S., 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,” Myrna Colon, president of AAU, said.
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 that will ease them into successfully performing in their system. The nonprofit 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 school’s mission, vision, and institutional values as some of the reasons AdventHealth chose the Adventist university for their partnership agreement.
The partnership between AAU and AdventHealth was formed out of a growing need for nurses, Stephen Smith, heritage recruitment strategy manager for AdventHealth, said. “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 in central Florida, the pilot site for the partnership, toured university grounds during their first visit in November 2021, spoke to students about internship and residency programs, and held a signing event where jobs were offered, Smith said. “As students near the end of their nursing programs, they have the opportunity to become AdventHealth team members as nurses or in others positions,” he added.
The two institutions have worked collaboratively in the past and continue to periodically renew some agreements, Amarilys Irizarry, dean of the School of Health and Sciences at AAU, said. 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, 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 and a professional development plan for AAU faculty, as well as to expand opportunities for graduates, not only in the nursing but in the respiratory therapy program as well, 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, and Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education, and offers dozens of undergraduate and graduate degrees on its campus.