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Alumni Spotlight: Celebrating Certified Nurses Day with Two RN Graduates

Follow your passion for a career in healthcare and make a difference.

Certified Nurses Day is an annual day of recognition for and by healthcare leaders dedicated to nursing professionalism, excellence, recognition and service. Every March 19, employers, certification boards, education facilities and healthcare providers celebrate and publicly acknowledge nurses who earn and maintain the highest credentials in their specialty.

Today, Pima Medical Institute honors nurses worldwide who contribute to better patient outcomes and nursing excellence. We are grateful for the nurses who continue to serve in this critical role and on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pima Medical has been educating students in the healthcare field since 1972. We’re proud of our 1,621 nursing graduates and what they have accomplished not only in their careers but the impact they have made in their communities. We are excited to share two of our nursing alumni stories with you as part of this day of celebration and recognition.


nursing_graduate_hero As a Pima Medical graduate, Avery applies her education and skills on the job in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

First, Avery had a childhood dream of becoming a nurse. Not only did she achieve her dream after graduating from Pima Medical’s Mesa campus, she also combined her passion of being a nurse with working with children in a pediatric care unit. Read her story below.

“As a small child I was obsessed with watching medical shows. I told my dad I wanted to be a nurse and I never changed my mind. I knew Pima Medical Institute had a great reputation so I enrolled in the Nursing (RN) program at the Mesa Campus. I had a great experience and loved my instructors and, even though it’s very uncommon to admit, I actually miss nursing school. It was a challenging time for me as I logged more than 45 flights back and forth to San Diego during my program to help care for my husband’s grandfather who was in hospice. But, my instructors were great and helped me succeed.

I’ve always loved children, so I combined my two passions and landed a job working in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Shortly after landing my dream job and enrolling in Pima Medical’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online program, we received the wonderful news that we were expecting a baby boy. I found myself writing discussion boards while in labor in my hospital bed. Although it was challenging working full-time, raising a newborn and going to school, the online classes maintained enough organization and a steady pace to encourage me to keep going and graduate on time.

I get questions daily from people interested in a nursing program. I’ve always told them the truth – if you want a solid education that prepares you for the world of nursing, Pima Medical is the best option. The clinical sites are unmatched, the staff will do anything to help you succeed and there is nothing that isn’t covered in the 20-month program that you will need to start your nursing career.”


Nursing graduate Jeff at St. Joseph working as an ICU Registered Nurse.

nursing_graduate_John_Schiffer_at_St_Joseph_hospital_insetJohn was an older student seeking a new healthcare career. He was “terrified” to return to school, but that didn’t stop him from graduating from our Tucson campus and becoming an ICU registered nurse. His story is below.

“At age 18 I began work for a pest control company and held various positions for 15 years. After back surgery, I realized it was time to change careers and get into the medical field. My wife, who is a nurse, encouraged me to consider a career in nursing. Despite the tuition at Pima Medical Institute, I chose the RN program because there was no waitlist for the two-year program. I was also encouraged by the ratings and the high job placement rate.

I was terrified – I had three kids, was in my 30s, and I quit my full-time job. But, my admissions advisor, Adam, was honest and helpful by setting the expectations. My classes were small and allowed me to connect with my instructors. Clinicals were stressful at the beginning, but I felt prepared and as the weeks went by, I became more comfortable.

The process of finding a job was easier than I thought. I spent much of my clinical time at St. Joseph Hospital and was drawn to the ICU. On my final day there, the manager offered me a position. I applied at several other major hospitals and was offered a job at each one. But, I felt like St. Joseph was the best fit for me and I am currently working there as an ICU registered nurse.

As an older student seeking a second career, Pima Medical Institute’s accelerated program was perfect for me. It gave me the foundation I needed to be a proficient nurse and I obtained a fantastic job that I love. I am ecstatic that it worked out so well!”

Avery and John are two inspiring examples of both the compassion and excellence in nursing we’re honoring today.

Pima Medical offers the nursing associate degree at our Mesa and Tucson, Arizona campuses. We also offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which is taught 100% online, allowing nurses to continue their education while working. If you’re thinking about a rewarding career in healthcare, nursing may be the next step for you.

March 19, 2021

Pima Medical Blog

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