By Emily Drooby
Nurses have been on the frontlines of the pandemic. Their fight has inspired their patients to stay strong, inspired people to donate food to medical workers, and even inspired a nightly applause throughout New York City.
Now, nurses are inspiring students to get into the field.
“We’ve seen incredible growth in the number of applicants to our nursing program,” said Robert Oliva, the director of recruitment at St. Francis College.
The college went from 450 nursing applications last year, to 850 this year. Robert said that seeing healthcare workers during the pandemic has had a strong influence on many students.
“I think there are more and more people who really want to make a difference in the world and in particular in the field of nursing, and they know they can do that right here at St. Francis College,” he told Currents News.
Naleeni Ramgulam is among them. The freshman nursing student has always wanted to help people, and for her, the pandemic solidified that.
“I’ve seen how it affected my family personally with corona, other families, it’s very devastating,’ she explained.
Incoming freshman Francesca Parisi feels the same.
“The fact that people are out there right now helping others in such a hard time honestly motivates me even more, because if we can deal with a pandemic like this, then we can deal with anything,” Francesca said.
She’s also inspired by her mother, who works in the medical field. Francesca always wanted to go to nursing school, but was unable to.
Nursing schools across the country, including Toro College in New York and Villanova in Pennsylvania have also noticed the uptick.
Robert Oliva said many students pick their school because they have a top-notch nursing program. They let Currents News tour their fully equipped nursing labs.
“I was like ‘Wow, this is where I’m going to learn what type of nursing I want to do,’” Francesca said. “The fact that they have all this advanced technology to learn that, I just think is amazing.”
The influx of applications is a small silver lining in a very dark year. More people are inspired to help others, which isn’t just an essential part of being a nurse — it’s an essential part of being Catholic.