Michael Fine, MD, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) today presented the Rhode Island College (RIC) School of Nursing with HEALTH's smoke-free policy award for its new policy banning the use of all tobacco products for nursing school students while on campus and while off campus in RIC Nursing School uniform. The award, presented at RIC's Fogarty Life Science building, honors the School of Nursing for its role as the first college in the state to implement such a ban.
"Nurses have higher smoking rates than all other healthcare professionals," said Dr. Fine. "The passage of this policy is a positive step toward reducing smoking rates among this group. This decision shows leadership that translates into a healthier environment for students and sets an example for all peers and colleagues."
The RIC Student Nurses Association played an instrumental role in the passage of the no-smoking policy. Following a senior class public policy presentation regarding secondhand smoke, members of the group noticed that the School of Nursing lacked a tobacco policy and have since worked with the administration to bring about the current ban.
"As nursing students, it is our role to be positive tobacco-free role models for our patients and peers alike," said Ericka Samoorian, president of the RIC Student Nurses Association. "Our policy also helps give us a competitive edge in the job market, as many employers are already excluding smokers from the hiring process."