Montgomery’s South University graduated its first nursing class Thursday night at the 2011-2012 Commencement.
The College of Nursing and Public Health class joins other new nursing grads in the River Region, most still in search of getting what health care managers call a “high demand” job.
Even so, Jackson Hospital in Montgomery says the job market for nurses is extremely competitive. “As the baby boomers are getting older, there's more of a demand in the hospital so we definitely need nurses in to take care of patients,” said Linda Hill, the Director of Nurse Recruitment at Jackson Hospital.
Nursing students at South University say graduation is just the beginning of their career, with a number of offers and interviews already on the table.
“Oh my gosh, I have finally seen the fruits of my labor, after 21 months I am ecstatic to see this day,” said Nurvah Estime, one of five nursing students in South University’s graduating class.
Estime says she traveled more than 600 miles from her home in South Florida to attend school at South University.
“It feels great to have gone from 12 students to the last five,” she said.
One of Estime’s classmates, Calder Vaughn of Millbrook worked at Baptist East through nursing school and has plans to go to UAB in Birmingham. “I have an interview next week over there, possibly on the heart and lung transplant floor,” Vaughn said.
South University’s nursing class feels Montgomery offers more opportunities for new nurses than other cities.
“There's a lot of programs that hire new grads, which is really good because it’s difficult for new grads to find a job,” said Bryan Torrado of Miami, FL, a South University nursing graduate.
Jackson Hospital is one of the medical facilities that offer new graduate programs. Already, Jackson’s emergency room has hired six college Spring 2012 graduates. Hill says the hospital still has 30 other Registered Nurse positions available.
“I've probably had over 100 new grad applications for this May and June graduating classes,” Hill said.
CBS-8 Anchor Glenn Halbrooks was also the featured commencement speaker at South University’s Graduation Ceremony. Halbrooks told all graduates through hard work and marketing themselves effectively they could earn their dream job.