All 63 Delta College nursing students graduate despite setbacks

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Despite COVID-19 restrictions, all 63 nursing students at Stockton’s Delta College were able to fulfill requirements and graduate.

The nursing program is very competitive. Add to the curriculum an unprecedented pandemic, and you get an even bigger challenge. But Delta nursing students were up to the task.

There was no graduation party and only a smattering of decorations with a picture of the last day of clinical training.

“We don’t get to have a ceremony, we don’t get to celebrate like a typical nursing student would want to celebrate,” said Delta nursing graduate Brianna Cobarrubias.

But Cobarrubias said it was this memory that shows just how driven Delta nursing students of 2020 are.

“It says a lot, you know,” she told FOX40. “We stand together, not just as students but as nurses as well.”

Cobarrubias said when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit San Joaquin County hospitals restricted all non-essential access, which meant students like her could no longer complete their clinical hours.

“We’re like, ‘Wow, is this really happening?’” Cobarrubias said. “Like we came so far, we worked so hard because we’ve all worked hard.”

Delta College Director of Health Sciences Lisa Lucchesi said there was concern that all 63 nursing students would have to repeat the spring semester.

However, St. Joseph’s and San Joaquin General hospitals changed their policies.

“Board of Registered Nursing allowed us to do 50% of our hours as simulation, and then we were allowed back in the hospitals,” Lucchesi explained.

Now, the entire class has fulfilled their requirements and graduated.

“You gain experience that no other nursing class could say they have,” Cobarrubias said.

Cobarrubias said it has been a bittersweet journey, one she first pursued years ago after her brother and father were badly injured by a hit-and-run driver. She said nurses gave her family strength.

“Kind of like holding our hands and comforting us and kind of taking like the fear of the unknown away,” she said.

Now, as a future registered nurse herself, she will work to provide the same sense of comfort to her own patients.

“I would say it’s very demanding. It’s very intense but it’s very rewarding as well,” she told FOX40.

She said she is now getting ready to take the NCLEX exam before getting a job as a registered nurse.

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