Our Nurses of the Week are Surya Upreti and Prem Shrestha, best friends from Nepal and recent graduates of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing. These two nurses are choosing to give back and pay it forward by continuing to work in the UAH English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, which helped them as nursing students.

The EAP program was founded when Dr. Karen Frith, Professor and Associate Dean for undergraduate programs, who realized that 10 percent of the fall 2015 nursing class were international students who had an English language barrier.

She explains her motivation for the program to UAH.edu, “These highly intelligent students were faced with learning the nursing language in English. While they didn’t ask for help and their English language skills were okay, I knew the transition would be difficult.”

Frith decided to look into English language support on campus and found that students had to pay for classes. She knew she had to do more when Upreti and Shrestha joined the program the following year, so she contacted the university’s Intensive Language and Cultural program and began to brainstorm ideas about support for international students.

Dr. Stephanie Ryan Cate-Gibson was named instructor of EAP and the program is intended to help students whose native language is not American English. The program helps fill the gap between students from diverse educational backgrounds and the US education system, and Cate-Gibson meets with students individually to review learning exercises including reading and comprehension retention, speed-reading techniques, and time management skills.

Following graduation from the UAH College of Nursing, Upreti began working as an orthopedic nurse at Huntsville Hospital and Shrestha accepted a nursing position at Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, TN. Despite full-time nursing jobs and plans to start graduate school in the near future, both nurses found the time to volunteer to help students in the EAP program, just as the program provided essential help for them as students.

To learn more about UAH nursing graduates Surya Upreti and Prem Shrestha, visit here.

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