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Nursing grads in Scranton get ready to work

After an interesting school year, nursing students are ready to get to work in a major healthcare crisis.

The licensed practical nursing students from the Lackawanna Career Technology Center in Scranton had to stand six feet apart waiting for their diplomas and graduated without any friends or family present.

Not the graduation ceremony they expected, but these nurses are used to curveballs.

Weeks after their program started, the pandemic hit. 

"Every other week we would take turns talking each other off the ledge. 'I can't do this anymore, nope, nope, I'm done.' But like I said, this class has become stronger, we've grown together and we've helped each other along that road," said Nancy Prendergast of Scranton. 

They can't celebrate together now because of social distancing rules, and also because they have to get to work.

Lackawanna CTC's LPN program has a 100 percent job placement rate.

This year, instructors say health care facilities were calling them asking for grads to hire to help with COVID-19.

"Scared, nervous, but also excited to be a part of something. To be able to give back. I feel like that's why I wanted to get into nursing to begin with," said Jennifer Jaffe of Roaring Brook Township. 

COVID-19 hasn't just affected graduation for these new nurses, it's affected their entire educational experience.

"We weren't able to have clinicals for a while, we were all virtual for a while. Then, at the end, we were able to do clinicals but we did a hybrid model," said Jaffe. 

Becoming a nurse during the biggest health care crisis in modern history is certainly nerve-wracking, but these grads say they're ready to get to work.

"It gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end of every day that there's a lot of people out there who can't do this but we can, and this is our story. And I give a lot of credit to the nurses that are out there already," said Josh Carichner of Taylor.