As a high school sophomore, Imunique Triplett considered a nursing career path she originally didn’t think she’d enjoy, associating the profession with blood and bodily fluids at first.
“I was squeamish and afraid of it,” the 17-year-old told Medscape Medical News of her initial impressions of nursing.
Late last year, the teenage nursing student, whose first name is pronounced “I-am-unique,” was the youngest graduate of the Milwaukee Area Technical College M3 practical nursing degree program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She completed it while finishing high school. Now she’s waiting to hear from more than 20 colleges to which she applied to gain a bachelor’s degree either in nursing, pre-med biology, or psychology.
While Triplett hasn’t made up her mind whether she will pursue nursing or medical school, she wants to work in healthcare based on her experience in practical nursing program. Triplett is touted by college as the first Milwaukee Public School student to complete the new nursing program while still in high school.
She considers her decision to try the nursing program in high school as a potential career “a leap of faith,” considering her naive notions about the field. Other high school students she started with in the dual-enrollment program either dropped out or graduated from high school before completing the program, she said.
“I did my own research about nursing and healthcare instead of basing it on my preconceived feelings,” Triplett said.
After the first semester of hands-on experience in nursing, she realized she was hooked. “This was something I could see myself turning into a career…. I’m glad I stuck with the program. I really loved doing it.”
A strong student who enjoys school, education comes easy to Triplett. She said she doubled up on classes in her sophomore year of high school to be able to have a lighter workload in her later years, which made it easier to keep up with the dual enrollment. Still, the rigors of nursing school were “not something I was used to,” Triplett told Medscape.
Her fellow nursing students were twice and even three times her age, she recalled. Being in a class with students who had “more experience than I did was difficult at first. I thought, ‘I don’t belong here.’ But they offered support and didn’t fail to let me know they were proud of me, and they provided a lot of encouragement.”
Through nursing, Triplett said she believes she can make a difference in someone’s life. She serves as a caretaker on weekends at an assisted living facility, cooking meals and helping residents with daily activities such as bathing.
Although her nursing clinical experience included working in a nursing home, she especially enjoyed clinicals in the hospital setting and looks forward to future opportunities to return to that environment.
Her goals are to become a nurse practitioner, midwife, labor and delivery nurse, or an obstetrician-gynecologist focused on the Black community.
“I want to help moms bring children into the world,” Triplett said. She was involved in a research project that found that the mortality rate of Black women in childbirth was significantly higher than women of other races. “I am an African American woman. I maybe one day will decide to have a child, and I would want someone to advocate for me.”
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