Education News

Free nursing program pays off

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New York is commonly discussed as a melting pot for the world's population. Read on for the story of a man from Sierra Leone who is part of a nurse training program Eyewitness News profiled a couple of years ago. Now, he is making a difference for his patients and his family.

Ahmed Sillah became a registered nurse last year.

"Now, I think I'm on the right path of helping the people in need," he said.

His desire to help others came from his experiences of growing up in the war-torn African nation of Sierra Leone.

"And during the war, I see children dying," he said. "Not because they are sick, just because they don't have proper medical care."

He is assigned to John F. Kennedy Medical Center's brain trauma unit.

"It really does take a special person to work on a unit of this nature," nurse manager Christine Wade said. "And he's done a terrific job."

The road to Ahmed's career as a nurse began with a very special and innovative training program for aspiring nurses, and Eyewitness News was there as the road began.

Ahmed was the only male member of a group of five single parents who were given free training, plus room and board for themselves and their children, to receive a degree from the Muhlenberg School of Nursing.

"I think I made the right choice because it helped me accomplish my goal," Ahmed said.

Ahmed is a divorced father who feels that picking up his 12-year-old daughter, Aminata, from school is part of his job as a parent.

Her father's accomplishments give her a sense of her own future.

"I get older, I can go to college and go to science," she said. "I can pick a nurse or something else."

Ahmed says he may someday pursue a career in medical research.

"Once you put your attention to certain things that you want to do for your own progress, do it," he said. "Rest if you can, but don't quit."

The free nursing program is small; it only takes five students at a time. For more information, visit MuhlenbergSchools.org/assp.asp.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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