We're proud of our nursing graduates

Dec 30, 2021 | 7:50 AM
On Dec. 16, we graduated 33 practical nurses – a similar number to 2020. We are extremely proud of their accomplishment and dedication to keeping our communities safe.

This article originally appeared in the Echo Press' In the Know column, titled Alexandria College proud of nursing graduates.

By Michael Seymour, President, Alexandria Technical & Community College

During the past two years, COVID’s impact on our communities has changed many things. It has forced us to modify our daily operations at Alexandria Technical and Community College. We have been sharply focused on keeping students safe and helping them meet their educational goals.

We strive to create a sense of normalcy for our students. We are finding ways of adhering to mandates without making them punitive. We continue to introduce new and innovative ways to get students across the finish line and into the workforce. We are two years into a pandemic that has altered the way many students use college as a way of transitioning to adulthood. As we gear up for spring semester, we stand ready to bring our students back to campus and will do all we can to provide as “normal” of an experience as we can, while keeping students, faculty and staff safe.

As great as our challenge has been, no one has felt the daily impact of the virus more than those working in healthcare. On Dec. 16, we graduated 33 practical nurses – a similar number to 2020. We are extremely proud of their accomplishment and dedication to keeping our communities safe. Right now, it is not an easy time to decide to become a nurse: Our hospitals are overflowing; COVID is a constant nemesis; and appreciation for healthcare workers seems fleeting as the pandemic continues. We want our new graduates and nursing students – and all nurses and healthcare workers – to know that we appreciate them and we are in this with them.

We hear from our past nursing graduates and they are stressed. Some are finding different tracts in healthcare and others are leaving the field entirely. Staffing and personnel resources are one of the biggest industry problems right now. That in turn, is leading to a lot of burnout and continued emotional and physical stress for the nurses that stay. Prospective students hear about the challenges and hedge on whether to start on their path to one of the most noble professions.

It is more important than ever that our community, our students and our college show those that care for us that we care about them. Nursing remains an honorable and in-demand profession. Despite the challenges, the outlook for spring and fall enrollment shows that our nursing program remains one of Alexandria College’s most sought-after degrees and that the next generation of nurses – who will have known COVID as a norm throughout their training and education – are ready for the task at hand. They are seeing the global emergency as a challenge and an opportunity. They are committed to making a difference. Wherever they decide to go after college, it is unlikely they will have trouble finding employment in nursing.

To the nurses who have recently graduated and those who have made healthcare a life-long career: Remain resilient. Keep pushing and adapting. Alexandria College is here to support you in your career. Thank you to all the healthcare professionals. We are grateful for your service and commitment to provide the healthcare we need in our communities.

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