RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hospitals are not where most people want to be right now, except for the brave souls working on the frontline.

An upcoming graduating nursing class at ECPI University is eager to join them.

“I’m so ready to get out there and do what I can to help,” said student Janeliz Polanco.

“You know when you sign up to be a nurse that you’re going in the snow, you’re going in the hurricanes, you’re going no matter what. You can’t not go. People need you,” said student Amanda Taylor.

They’re in an accelerated five-week term nursing program. Studies have become virtual due to COVID-19. Their class of nine is scheduled to graduate next month.

“I think we’re all excited, but we’re all a little bit scared,” said Taylor.

Scared, but not deterred.

“As a nurse and as someone who chooses to be a nurse, you do have a passion for going out and helping people,” said Becky Thornton, director of the practical nursing program at ECPI University.
Thornton said she’s confident in her students.

“Students that come to our program — they have to be dedicated, they have to be passionate about what they’re doing because nursing school is hard in general and an accelerated nursing program is even harder,” said Thornton.

Some states are allowing nurses to temporarily work without a state license. Salaries being offered are also very competitive right now.

The soon-to-be nurses said these aren’t the circumstances in which they thought they’d be starting their careers.

“You can’t let anything, not even a virus like this, keep you from going out there and serving,” said Polanco.

They’ll likely do a virtual pinning ceremony for their graduation.

The nursing classes graduate on average every 10 weeks at ECPI.

Staffers said if COVID-19 persists, it will require them to be flexible in teaching future classes.