Black Excellence: 17-Year-Old Girl Made History By Receiving A Nursing Degree While Still In High School

by Duke Magazine

Imunique Triplett, a 17-year-old Milwaukee resident, earned her practical nursing diploma while still in high school last year. She was among 84 Milwaukee Area Technical College nursing students who graduated on December 14.

Triplett was still in her senior year at Rufus King High School, earning her practical nursing diploma ahead of her high school graduation. She was the first Milwaukee Public Schools student to complete the nursing track while still in high school thanks to the M³ or M-cubed College Connections program.

The program allows Milwaukee Public Schools students to enroll in Milwaukee Area Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee classes, earning credits that count toward their graduation from both high school and college with pathways including nursing, teaching, and general education, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The program is free for students, as Milwaukee Public Schools foots the bill with discounted rates.

Triplett, who was adopted by her great aunt and great uncle when she was 10 months old, said she had to work very hard to get to where she is now. She applied for the M³ program her sophomore year before COVID-19. She learned to balance nursing school, high school, and a pandemic.

Once a week, she worked in a nursing home to get hands-on experience with patients. Amid the pandemic, she had to keep her patients safe as she helped them have their meals and move around, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Triplett initially feared entering the medical field because of the “blood and body fluid” but her sentiments eventually changed.

“If I had let myself continue to tell myself I couldn’t do something, I wouldn’t have known and missed out on a huge opportunity,” she said.

Most of the Milwaukee Public Schools students Triplett started the nursing track with left due to numerous reasons. Some graduated high school while others felt that nursing was not really what they would like to do.

Students who complete the nursing track can become licensed practical nurses or can continue their education to become registered nurses or nurse practitioners. As nurse practitioners, they will have more responsibilities but higher salaries, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Ahead of her graduation from Rufus King, Triplett is yet to choose what to do, even though she would like to earn a higher degree in nursing or head to medical school. Her interests are in midwifery and labor and delivery nursing. She wouldn’t also mind becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist to cater to the health needs of African-American women.

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