TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Another round of Tucson nurses have graduated and could soon be heading to your doctors' offices.
59 nursing students from Pima Community College walked down the aisle at the Tucson Convention Center tonight for the fall graduation ceremony.
Students said they started the two-year program working with just one patient, but as they progressed they ended up taking on nurses' entire case loads. The students said they're proud to be joining this field, where there's currently a critical shortage.
There are several factors that lead to a shortage of nurses across the country, including Americans living longer, recent healthcare reform giving millions of Americans access to healthcare and the aging workforce of current nurses.
"I wanted to get into nursing because I love caring for people. I'm such a care giver. I have a lot of compassion and it's got to go somewhere," said nursing graduate, Lorraine Varela.
"It's a really difficult and undervalued field. We've seen a lot of that while we've been in our student-nursing careers, but we've also seen the value of being a nurse," Karianne Nicholson, President of the Student Nurses Association of Pima College said.
"It's intense, it's very rigorous. There's a lot of studying, books, a lot of late nights and a lot of coffee but it's so worth it," graduate, Karlie Hibler said. She was just offered a job at Banner-University Medical Center South.
PCC used to have a waiting list to get into their nursing program, but they found that that was discouraging students from applying to the program, so instead they have switched to competitive applications. The graduates are now qualified to take licensure exams to become registered nurses.
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