Interest in nursing programs increases during pandemic at San Antonio high school, university

San Antonio student shares how COVID-19 impacted his family

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio high school and university say more students want to join nursing programs as the COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased interest in medical careers.

“We’re in the middle of our recruitment process right now, and it was surprising to me how many more students are interested in making a difference,” said Lynn Hernandez, P-tech coordinator at Fox Tech High School.

Hernandez said there has been a great interest in the nursing field.

“This is definitely an area, a job, a field that has job security,” Hernandez said.

COVID-19 has impacted the family of 18-year-old Aiden Almaguer, a senior at the Health Professions Institute at Fox Tech High School.

“I choose to learn from home because right now I don’t want to take any chances of getting or spreading COVID, especially now that three of my family members have gotten it,” Almaguer said.

Almaguer said he wants to become a pediatric nurse.

“Health care really needs a lot of people right now, especially during the pandemic. It motivates me even more to be part of the health care,” he said.

Holly Cassells, the dean of Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of the Incarnate Word, said many people are asking about nursing at her campus, too.

“We have lots of people inquiring how (they can) become a nurse. And, you know, we’re trying to direct them into our traditional program if they’re just coming right out of high school. We also have a lot of interest in people returning who already have degrees but who want to become a nurse and who can come into our accelerated BSN program, aimed at people who have maybe had a second career already or who took a degree that they haven’t been able to keep a job with. And so, our accelerated program is really ideal for that kind of a person,” Cassells said.

The accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program started last year at UIW. Students can finish the program in 16 months.

“We have a lot of nurses retiring. We’ve got a lot of nurses moving around, and there’s just a lot of opportunity. So it’s really a great field for people to get into now,” Cassells said.

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