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University of St. Thomas unveils new state-of-the-art nursing school

Their first semester is now underway, with a first batch of students who are entering the profession at a very interesting time.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The University of St. Thomas has launched a new nursing college on campus.

Their first semester is now underway, with a first batch of students who are entering the profession at a very interesting time.

The profession is seeing massive strikes with thousands of nurses picketing in the streets.

Meanwhile, many hospitals and clinics are also seeing a shortage of nurses after thousands of nurses quit or retired during the pandemic.

It's a profession that is changing fast in these uncertain times.

That's why coordinators at St. Thomas have decided to create a state-of-the-art nursing school that can keep up with the times.

The facility features new forms of technology such as robotic patients and simulators that can be programmed to mimic countless scenarios.

The program was also designed to attract students from all walks of life, including older students who have already worked other jobs, but are now deciding to pursue a career in nursing.

Sarah Abuisnaineh is one of 46 graduate students in the program who will spend the next 20 months studying for their master’s degree in nursing.

"Even though there is a shortage, I want to be part of that change,” Abuisnaineh said.

During the pandemic, Abuisnaineh worked as a nursing assistant and got to see the issues the nursing profession was facing first hand.

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“I’m actually very excited regardless of what has been happening, because I do see a better future for nurses,” she said.

Fellow nursing student Christopher Edwards is also keenly aware of the ongoing strikes and shortages of nurses, and how COVID-19 changed everything.

"The system is broken,” he said. "It is a very interesting time, I will say."

But instead of running away from nursing, both students say these issues inspire them to jump in and help.

Nursing instructors say most other nursing students feel the same way.

"As a profession, we worried that the pandemic would actually cause a decline in the interest of nursing, but what I have experienced and I'm finding is it's actually creating an excitement,” said Martha Scheckel, the founding Director of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas’s new nursing college.

She says the next generation is excited to help reshape the nursing profession.

Next year, the St. Thomas will have a bachelor's program where they can take in up to 50 students. Scheckel says more than a hundred students have already reached out.

“I’m very confident we’ll be able to fill those 50 spots next year,” Scheckel said.

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