Monroe Community College honors first-ever LPN graduating class
Sixteen students became the first licensed practical nurses to graduate from Monroe Community College this week.
Friends, family and local officials attended the inaugural ceremony Wednesday at MCC’s downtown campus.
Among the graduates was Deleesa Nixon-Shelton, who said she wanted to inspire her kids.
“I didn't want my children to see me start something and not complete it,” she said. “That was my biggest motivation.”
She said while she encountered some bumps along her journey, she is proud to be a trailblazer for the community, especially in what she considers one of the most noble professions.
“I do hope that we all remember why we wanted to get into nursing in the first place,” she said of herself and her classmates. “Not just a career field, not just to start and finish the program, but nursing itself.”
The health care industry has been experiencing staffing shortages, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcia Lynch, MCC’s director of health care programs, said these graduates are already helping alleviate that burden.
“What happens when we don't have LPNs is we have RNs (registered nurses) that need to work down,” Lynch said.
She said 11 of the 16 graduates already have jobs in the nursing field, while the remaining are still waiting for placement.
The inaugural LPN class was able to graduate debt-free due to partnerships between the college and community organizations like Finger Lakes Performing Provider Systems.
“We need to ensure there's a skilled and sufficient health care workforce not only right now, but for years to come,” said Carol Tegas, chief executive director of FLPPS. “We need to provide social supports to alleviate barriers that students may face when pursuing a career in health care.”
Troy Kinsey, who was the first student to register for the new LPN program, was eager to take advantage of the debt-free experience.
“I was like, ‘Well, if it's gonna be free, then I'm gonna go,” Kinsey said with a laugh.
He said the nursing profession runs in his family, and that made him interested in the career as well.
“I learned so much from the hard things that I went through during the journey,” Kinsey said. “It wasn't the easiest because we were the first class, but that also helped shape a lot of us.”
Lynch said the graduates still need to take and pass the NCLEX state examination before they’re fully licensed as LPNs.
The next two classes already have 30 students enrolled, and Kinsey had this advice for them:
“Just stay confident, stay attentive, do your work as best as you can, stay strong, and work together.”