RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — One by one, graduates from Wake Technical Community College’s Martha Mann Smith School of Nursing took steps to leave one chapter to enter the next.
“Just can’t believe it’s real,” said Genevieve Bruen, a graduate of the program.
Friday was the first in-person pinning ceremony the school has held inside since the pandemic began.
Sixty-three graduates received their pins.
The face masks and social distancing during the ceremony was a reminder of what lies ahead.
“I decided to actually take a job a predominantly covid unit. I feel like I can be that support to families and to the patients when they are separated,” Bruen stated.
“It’s just an honor and a joy to just put myself out there to take care of people so, if that’s with covid, that’s what I signed up for. So, that’s what I’m going to do,” added Shane Horrell.
As both Horrell and Bruen prepare to enter the workforce, there is still a need for nurses across the country.
A survey from the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment found 78 percent of RN’s believe the coronavirus has strained staffing in their unit to “unsafe levels.”
“Martha Mann’s school has done a wonderful job preparing us and I’m ready,” Horrell said.
The next for graduates is applying for licensure through the NCBON, apply to take the NCLEX, and complete a criminal background check before they can work as graduate registered nurses.
According to Wake Tech, 98% of graduates are employed within six months after passing the NCLEX licensure exam.