Jensenia Diaz spent much of her childhood in and out of the hospital.
“Each time I would go in, the one person I remembered when I went back home, was the nurse. They were often like the second parent for me during a scary time. Since then, I’ve always wanted to give back in the way they did,” said Diaz.
On May 31, Diaz along with 55 other graduates earned Associate in Applied Science degrees in nursing. Dressed in crisp white uniforms, the graduates took the stage for their formal pinning ceremony in Theater 2 at 199 Chambers Street.
In the weeks to come, these graduates will take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (RNs).
Demand for Registered Nurses is expected to increase 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all other occupations, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS).
Growth will occur because of increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and the need for healthcare services for the baby-boom population, according to the USBLS.
During BMCC’s ceremony, three students shared how this new chapter has affected their lives.
“It (Nursing) entails a specific knowledge base and skill sets to provide safe and patient-centered care to those who are ailing,” said Walter Kim, who spoke at the ceremony alongside fellow graduates Zannathol Mostafa and Ming Chung.
BMCC Nursing Department Chairperson Judy Eng said the ceremony is a celebration for all the “stress and tears” students experience as they earn their degree.
“We didn’t ‘give’ this Associate Degree in Nursing to graduates — they earned it,” she said. “They don’t realize how hard they’ve worked, until this moment.”
Eng called nursing “the engine of healthcare” and nursing graduates, she said, are “its future engines.”
Graduate Melissa Urrego said without the support of her family and friends, she wouldn’t have been able to complete the program.
“I chose nursing because it’s a profession where I can be one-on-one with people, and help them through their most difficult times,” said Urrego.
Another graduate, Tsering Palmo, said, “My next step is an externship at Woodhull Hospital, and preparing for my Kaplan review and the RN licensing exam.”
During the ceremony, keynote speaker Professor Ellen Hoist, an alumna of the BMCC Nursing Program and Deputy Chairperson of the Nursing and Allied Health Sciences Program at Bronx Community College, told the graduates their intelligence and hard work had been tremendous.
“’Start Here, Go Anywhere’ rings true to me,” Hoist said. “I started here at BMCC. I’ve had a rich career. I’m retiring at the end of this year, and this is where it all began.”
This year’s graduates include Olga Aleksandrovskaya, Doha Ali, Deborah Aniemeko, Geoconda Aviles, Yekaterina Babenko, Tenzing Choyang, Ming Chung, Eileen Cruz, Dolgoon Damdinsuren, Tamia Deetjen, Jesenia Diaz, Sharon Dipak, Sarah Edvardsson, Jermaine Ferguson, Helen Fok, Anna Glab, Sabrina Habib, Sunetta Hamilton, Laura Hernandez, Yajaharia Inoa, Iliana Iordanov, Vanan Karram, Manpreet Kaur, Marina Khazhikarova, Walter Kim, Teineicia Knights, Yangchen Lhamo, Rachel Libon, Aiqin Lin, Jenelie Lobo, Adriana Mahara, Barbara Mejias, Khadija Mirza, Monica Morales, Zannathol Mostafa, Edyta Mota Javier, Judith Ndionu, Kathleen Olivieri, Vanessa Ortiz, Angel Pagan, Tsering Palmo, Patrick Parrenas, Evelyn Robinson, Maria Rodriguez, Marisa Roman, Sabrina Russo, Amanda Silaski, Jasmine Smith, Christine Soliven, Connie South, Katelyn Turnbow, Melissa Urrego, Boris Ustian, Sandra Wollschlager, Tao Wu and Leonid Yarmolitsky.