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QCC Welcomes First Becker Nursing Class

July, 2021
  • QCC's new nursing students (formerly Becker nursing students) experience hands-on learning in the College's nursing lab.
    QCC's new nursing students (formerly Becker nursing students) experience hands-on learning in the College's nursing lab.
  • QCC welcomes its first class of former Becker nursing students.
    QCC welcomes its first class of former Becker nursing students.
  • A former Becker nursing student is now a part of QCC's nursing program.
    A former Becker nursing student is now a part of QCC's nursing program.

Entering the nursing profession is not for the faint of heart. For those who chose this profession, often their main motivator is the desire to make a difference in people’s lives.

So when Becker College announced on March 28 that it would shutter its doors, these same students who were dedicating their lives to helping others were now the ones who needed assistance... and Quinisigamond Community College was there to help.

Former Becker Nursing student and West Brookfield resident Melissa Waddell decided to major in nursing because it has been a lifelong dream. Her grandmother was the head nurse at Holden Nursing Home for many years, and she had always thought that it was an admirable and well-respected career choice. She also loved helping people.

Ms. Waddell was already familiar with QCC prior to Becker closing. She had began taking her prerequisites at QCC in 2016, while working full-time and raising her family. However, when finished her prerequisites and applied to QCC’s nursing program, she was placed on the waiting list for the spring 2023 semester.

“I am 38 years old and didn't want to wait that long to start a nursing program, so I applied at Becker,” Ms. Waddell said. “I was absolutely thrilled to finally make it into a nursing program after spending so long working on my prerequisites.” 

Thus, when Becker closed, she found herself going back to the college where she initially started.

“When I learned Becker was closing after just my first semester there in the program, I was very upset and worried about the continuance of my education, while simultaneously trying to focus on having a successful first semester. I reached out to QCC, which I considered to be my home school in a way, almost immediately.

Ms. Waddell was placed on a list of interested Becker transfer students, and spent some time waiting and worrying as to whether she would be admitted into QCC.

“I knew that I was in good shape to return to QCC because I was already on the waiting list for the nursing program there. It was just a matter of whether or not QCC would have the space for us, and whether or not our credits would transfer,” she said.

For former Becker student and Woodstock, Connecticut resident Alyssa Velez, entering Becker was in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wanted to pursue nursing, mostly because when the pandemic hit and my husband and I had our first child, I felt like I wanted a more rewarding job,” Ms. Velez said. “When I learned Becker was closing, there wasn't much I could do. We asked the questions we could and just waited for answers.”

She said it was a challenging and stressful time for the students, but ultimately both she and Ms. Waddell, along with 55 Becker classmates entered a bridge program that QCC developed for the transfer students in mid-July.

“I welcomed our first class of Becker nursing students face-to- face and it was wonderful feeling,” said Dean of School of Healthcare Pat Schmohl. “Our nursing leadership team and faculty have done a tremendous job integrating the Becker College students into our nursing courses, without impacting our waitlist of future students. Our clinical partners have been very understanding in working with us this fall semester, to allow additional clinical groups to accommodate our new students.”

Patricia Creelman, professor of Nurse Education has been working with the students as they transition into QCC.

“I give them lots of credit for being able to adjust to all of these very unexpected changes. Many have had to enroll in co-requisite courses this summer, as well as participate in the bridge nursing courses which were created by QCC to bridge the curricular gap between Becker and QCC,” Professsor Creelman said.

 According to Ms. Creelman, the former Becker students will merge into QCC’s nursing classes in the fall semester. 

“Some will enter second semester, some will enter third semester and some will enter fourth semester. The only thing that will be different is the bridge courses that the Becker students are taking this summer,” she continued.

Ms. Waddell and Ms. Velez plan to continue their education after QCC and work toward their BSN.

“We had to push through our first year of nursing school not knowing if we'd have placement in the Fall. A lot of us hung on by a thread, but I am so proud of the nursing students who came from Becker,” Ms. Velez said. “The amount of stress and worry we had, and to be able to pass the semester, we should be proud.”

 

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