Andrew Bond, Wade Hemrica and Nancy Hernandez-Bisurto walked across the graduation stage Friday knowing they had nursing jobs waiting for them at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
The nursing students were just three of the more than 1,800 Lakehead University students graduating this spring.
They were lined up outside of the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium Friday afternoon waiting to get their chance to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.
“It’s really quite nerve-wracking,” said Hemrica, who hails from Hamilton but will be staying in Thunder Bay after graduation to work as a nurse on the surgical floor at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
“Entering the workforce is going to be an interesting thing. Everybody’s nervous about it because we’ve all been student nurses and we’re lucky to have a lot of jobs,” he said. “Having your own patient load, your own responsibility, no one to lean back on, it’s really a step in maturity.”
But what he was most excited for was having his parents, both nurses in southern Ontario, watch him graduate.
“Probably one of the best parts of this weekend is seeing how proud they are of me and that’s probably what means the most to me,” he said.
For Bond, he’s ready to get on the job and tackle that first learning curve.
“We think we’re ready to face the world, but I think the first few months will be a pretty humbling experience. We’re looking forward to increasing our knowledge,” he said.
Soon he’ll be a nurse in the hospital’s emergency room and graduating was something Bond had been anticipating since the day he started the program four years ago.
“This is obviously the day we look forward to, the day we actually get to work and become professionals and finally start paying off some of those loans,” he said.
Graduation was a day that felt like it would almost never come at times for Hernandez-Bisurto.
“The first year, it feels like just yesterday,” she said. “But since being in the program, a lot of hard work, shift work, exams, cramming, studying, wondering if you’re ever going to pass and here it is. It feels great.”
The past years have been full of ups and downs, but a great support system of friends, faculty and the community has made it easy, she added.
Also starting work as a nurse at the Thunder Bay Regional hospital, Hernandez-Bisurto is looking forward to jumping in and getting her hands dirty.
“I look forward to creating more colleagues and watching all my peers grow and basically just building the plateau for the future,” she said.
There will be two more graduation ceremonies for Lakehead students Saturday at the TBCA at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
On Twitter: @JodiL_reporter
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