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Pandemic Paves New Pathway for GateWay Nursing Student

Luis Rojas

A career in nursing had always been a dream for Luis Rojas. Unfortunately, the program cost and timing restrictions led him to pursue a degree in business instead. For many years, Rojas had a rewarding, growing career in public service with Maricopa County. It was only when Rojas discovered how affordable the Concurrent Enrollment Nursing Program (CEP) at GateWay is, that he reignited his interest in a nursing career.  

“The decision to go back to school would change many of my life plans. Ultimately, I managed to arrange my finances and left human resources for healthcare.”

The Concurrent Enrollment Program (CEP) is not for the faint of heart. The competitive program allows students the opportunity to pursue an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing, while concurrently working to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing one semester after graduating with their AAS degree.

“While the program can feel overwhelming at times, the instructors are happy to provide tips on how to approach the curriculum,” said Rojas.  “Also, it helps to plan and not panic; the result is worth it.”

In addition to the theory, students experience the practical application of what they are learning in the classroom. This past February, Rojas along with several other GateWay nursing students worked on the front lines providing COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible community members.

When asked about the impact he was making while participating in the Stand Together and Recover (S.T.A.R.) vaccination program Rojas shared, “With the historic impact COVID has had on the world, I hope that my participation helps to deliver vaccines to the public that otherwise would not have received it. Every vaccine can be potentially life saving. That is the epitome of being a nurse.”

Rojas was most surprised to discover how many individuals were being vaccinated in order to be able to see family members and loved ones they had gone almost a year without seeing.

“Many of the patients took photos or videos and told stories about how they saw hope to soon see family members they haven’t been able to hug for over a year. It was a great reward for the work done!”

As for future goals, Rojas would hope to explore a career in research nursing. “After the pandemic, I developed an interest in clinical research. It’s the forefront of preventative care.”

To learn more about the Concurrent Enrollment Nursing program visit: https://www.gatewaycc.edu/concurrent-enrollment-nursing-program

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