Nursing school graduates prepare to start careers amid the pandemic
BATON ROUGE - There’s a new class of graduates at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University joining the workforce in Louisiana. Many of them include nurses who are badly needed in their community and elsewhere.
On Saturday at the Raising Canes River Center, graduates from FranU's School of Nursing crossed the stage into the next chapter of their lives.
"I feel happy and nervous to start the real world," graduate Noah Ducote said.
It was the first in-person graduation ceremony the school has held inside since the pandemic began. Some of the face masks worn during the ceremony served as a reminder of what lies ahead.
"You had to be really determined and have a good mindset so that you're able to get yourself through doing the work," said graduate Kaitlyn Maddie.
Both Ducote and Maddie are prepared to join a field that's desperately in need of nurses. There's a shortage of healthcare workers in Louisiana as well as nationwide.
"Back in 2020 some of our clinicals got canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things are starting to open up again, but we still have plenty of patients in the hospitals. Where I'm going, I'll definitely be taking care of some of those people," said Ducote.
Professors at the university are confident their students will have good opportunities.
"The pandemic definitely makes it an interesting time for nurses, but there's so many opportunities for nurses these days. I think because of the pandemic, people appreciate nursing and the care that nurses provide," said Dean of the School of Nursing Amy Hall.
More than 180 students graduated Saturday from the university.