Inaugural baccalaureate class of nursing graduated from Laredo College

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Texas Border Business

On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, the first Laredo College graduating class of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) celebrated with a memorable car parade their instructors and college executives organized to celebrate a remarkable milestone.

Laughter, tears, and excitement could be seen as nurses were recognized at the exciting car parade. LC administrators and faculty were present to congratulate the graduating class of 2020 as they received their diploma. Graduates cherished this moment as they concluded this chapter in their lives and prepared to embark on a promising future. 

After the exciting car parade, LC streamed a unique, virtual ceremony. LC BSN instructor Marissa Jimenez opened the ceremony followed by an invocation from LC Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research David Arreazola. LC President Ricardo J. Solis gave a memorable welcoming speech congratulating not only the graduates but everyone involved in the program. To conclude the virtual ceremony, viewers enjoyed a delightful video as they reminisced through the year of hard work and dedication from the first BSN students at our institution. 

President Solis said, “Our college is a learner-centered institution transforming students’ lives through educational programs and services to fulfill the dynamic needs of its local, regional, national and global community. We are proud to have such dedicated employees that prepare students to have a bright future.” 

Before graduating with honors, students had to go through an arduous application and training process to be fully prepared to serve in our community and continue their education. These 21 students were among the more than 23 applicants for the 2019-2020 school year. 

In order to apply for the program, applicants must have graduated from a nationally-accredited nursing program, must have a registered nursing license, have an outstanding GPA, meet technical standards required by the program, be subject to an interview, pass a background check and provide letters of recommendation. 

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After prospective students demonstrated the passion, value, and the necessary academics to form part of the program, they were notified of their selection as the first BSN Program students. 

On June 13, 2019, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states of the United States, approved LC’s application to become a Level 2 institution which may award bachelor’s degrees. 

This baccalaureate degree program enrolled its first class in fall 2019. The program provided the opportunity for nurses in the community with an associate’s degree to further their education built-in four concepts: leadership, community, research, and informatics. It prepared individuals to become professional nurses with a commitment to lifelong learning by providing educational excellence and promoting student success. 

All Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) students had already begun working in the healthcare field while they pursued their BSN. Others had the opportunity to continue their BSN after just obtaining their ADN at our college. LC’s BSN students are already registered nurses and the BSN degree provided them with a different nursing focus as well as a higher educational degree. 

Dr. Marisa Jimenez mentioned that most students expressed how excited they were to be the first BSN graduating class. After many years in the field, students felt confident to return to learn from familiar faces. Many years of experience surround the nursing programs at our college and students were glad to return to complete this degree at a very affordable cost. 

“Laredo college offers higher education at an affordable price. The bachelors of science in nursing instructors are invested in their student’s future. It’s a great program that works with the busy schedule that a full-time nurse has,” Martin Torres LC BSN student said. 

Laredo College’s BSN Program was offered as a hybrid program for both semesters; a blended program consisting of online and face-to-face instruction. 

Some of the courses included in the program were Holistic Health, Legal and Ethical Principles, Gerontology, Leadership and Management, Population and Culture, Informatics, among other research courses. 

For their final community project, students were not deterred by the pandemic and were able to hold virtual meetings and complete webinars and CEUs virtually with individuals from various areas of the health science fields. 

Upon graduation, students are prepared to practice in progressive healthcare arenas, understand the importance of evidence-based practice (EBP) and lifelong learning, and apply to advanced practice degree programs. 

Many of these students have already secured higher education institutions for the next step in their educational careers. BSN students are committed to dedicating their futures to improving the healthcare of others through caring and expertise, taking LC’s core values of honor, duty, and respect with them. 

Dean of Health Sciences and Nursing Programs Director Dianna Miller said, “Every one of the A.D.N.-RN to BSN graduates has been serving their community tirelessly and now they are the recipients of greater knowledge, greater authority, and greater expertise. Each of them has the courage and the strength to make a difference in the community by applying this new level of knowledge and practice to those whom they serve. I am very excited and proud of each of the graduates and look forward to their contributions to our community.” 

Additionally, the South Campus College of Health Sciences Building will be opening its doors in the year ahead with cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities for our incoming health science students to have a great environment that is conducive to learning and honing their skills. 

This building also houses a new Gateway Community Health Center clinic. This collaboration is the first of its kind in the entire nation. The clinic will also serve as an on-site training facility for LC students completing their clinical rotations. 

Everyone in the community, from students to clinic CEOs, are very thrilled to form part of the amazing formation our college is providing through partnerships, innovative projects, and state-of-the-art technology to prepare our students for a promising future. 

Dr. Miller thanked the LC Board of Trustees, administrators, and the institutional effectiveness team, for believing and supporting the A.D.N.-RN to BSN program. She said, “Dr. Marissa Jimenez and Mr. Jose Luis Santos have worked diligently in planning and implementing this groundbreaking program for our community. I am very proud of these faculty members who have been at the forefront.” 

Applications for the BSN program are open until July 16, 2020. If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a nurse, contact the Laredo College Nursing Department at (956) 721-5252 or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment to discuss the program requirements and career pathways. 

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