BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — The semester is coming to a close for many nursing students at Monroe Community College, graduating at a time when they’re needed more than ever. Many of them are going to be joining the many men and women on the frontlines of the pandemic. 

During their time in the program they learned how to properly put on personal protective equipment, to do clinical rotations to all the area hospitals and take care of real patients.

Some of the students already have jobs lined up at Rochester General Hospital and at Highland Hospital. 

“I just feel like there’s a strong need for nurses right now, especially with short staffed hospitals and the influx of patients — especially if there’s going to be a second wave of COVID-19 coming through. so I think it’s important for us to get out there and make a difference,” Kristina Sodeman, a graduate of the nursing program said. “Actually what I wanted to do,  to become a nurse and make a difference and save lives. I’m going to be an ICU nurse. Now that COVID-19 is here, I can use what I learned to actually go in and help.”

Many of their inspirations to become nurses came at a young age or were inspired by other family members. They are eager to jump in and help others. 

“I want to be able to make these patients feel more safe, more comfortable,” Jacob Kueppers, also a graduating nursing student, said. “I want them to know that yes we’re going to have all this gear on, but at the end of the day I am still a person. I have feelings and we can just talk about it or anything like that you know. I want to be able to make their stay during a scary time better.”

There are at least 105 students who will be earning their associates degree in nursing. They’re confident they’ll pass their board exams. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MCC has postponed its commencement ceremony to Dec. 3, when a traditional, in-person celebration will be held. All students who fulfill program requirements will become MCC graduates in May and receive official degrees and certificates in the mail during the summer. More on their nursing program click here.

Kristina and Jacob are among the recipients of the Mary Porcari Brady Emergency Student Support Fund‘s $50,386 grant providing access to virtual clinical experiences and supply kits as well as covering the licensure exam fees for MCC students preparing to graduate this month.

Those interested in MCC’s 10-month Medical Office Assistant Certificate Program learn specialized health care record-keeping procedures and use the same high-tech computer systems found in today’s medical offices. In addition to developing strong technical skills, students learn to effectively communicate with patients and health care professionals and gain introductory knowledge of biology, medical terminology, drugs and emergency care.

The program is cohort-based, allowing participants to attend every class together for the duration of the program. The model is focused on building a tight-knit learning community of peers who use one another as resources and collaborate on projects and in discussions.

Graduates can begin their careers in hospitals, private practices and dental clinics as administrative assistants, medical records and health information technicians, and medical record coders.

Classes begin in the fall 2020 semester at a location to be announced at a later date. Deadline to register is Aug. 19. Financial aid for qualified individuals and wraparound supports—including career services—are available through MCC and community partners.

For more information about the certificate programs and enrollment, contact the Admissions Office at (585) 292-2200 or