STC, DHR and PSJA ISD dual credit seniors first in nation to graduate with Associate Degree in Nursing
Each receive lamp symbolic of their roles as ‘lightgivers’ to patients
MCALLEN, TX (May 15, 2017) – Eight Pharr-San Juan- Alamo ISD seniors, dually enrolled at South Texas College, have become the first cohort of students in the nation to graduate with an Associate Degree in Nursing, straight out of high school.
The students will be honored this Thursday May 18, by Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance to congratulate them on this unique achievement. The South Texas College Associate Degree Nursing Program organized a pinning ceremony, last week.
“Our pinning ceremony for our graduates is important because it is our rite of passage from being a student nurse to becoming a professional,” said Dr. Christie M. Candelaria, Department Chair for the ADN program at South Texas College. “Receiving their pins symbolizes what the college and the program stands for. In addition, they will also receive a lamp symbolic of their roles as ‘lightgivers’ to those patients they are taking care of.”
STC graduated four cohorts at the ceremony including traditional graduates, LVN to RN, paramedic, and for the first time ever a group of eight seniors in the Nursing Career Pathway Program at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD have become the first in the nation to graduate with their Nursing Associate Degree while still in high school.
First approved by the Texas Board of Nursing on July 23, 2015, PSJA’s Nursing Career Pathway Program is the first in the nation to address the growing need for registered nurses by providing a college-level associate degree to qualified high school students free of charge.
The rigorous program is possible thanks to a partnership with South Texas College, Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance and the Region One Education Service Center.
“I feel very honored, and I feel like I have set the example for my younger sisters,” said Abigail Villarreal, 18, and senior from PSJA Memorial High School. Taking nursing classes since her sophomore year, Villarreal is graduating at the top of her class this May.
“For future students in this program, you just need to know that this is what you want to do, and most importantly that it is worth it,” Villarreal said. “You need to learn how to prioritize, and if this is what you want, then you need to put everything else aside and focus on your education.”
The Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Program at STC prepares students to become safe practitioners in the healthcare field. Upon successful completion of the Associate of Applied Science major in Associate Degree Nursing, graduates are able to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
After successfully completing the exam, a student will be a registered nurse and can work in hospitals, day-surgery centers, rehabilitation centers, physicians’ offices, home health care agencies and other areas.