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RCC Graduate Briana Locklear bridges from EMS to Nursing

With a shortage of healthcare workers, the need for nurses continues to grow, making them in high demand. The demand is so great, all 31 graduates from the associate degree nursing program at Robeson Community College, have already obtained jobs, many before they even graduated, like Briana Locklear.

“I will be working in the Emergency Room at UNC Health Southeastern,” Locklear stated. “I always wanted to do this. Growing up, I always wanted to help others in need and help those who can’t help themselves.”

Locklear was somewhat unique in her graduating class, as she completed the EMS Bridge to Nursing program, a program that only a handful of students complete each year. Locklear previously completed the EMS degree at Robeson Community College and currently works as a paramedic with Robeson County EMS and volunteers as a rescue member at Lumberton Rescue.

The bridge program is a great pathway that can help accelerate students who already have a background in emergency medicine towards the degree in nursing.

“Being a paramedic has provided a good foundation and stepping stone for nursing,” Locklear said. “I definitely think it gave me a better background in triage and trauma, where I am able to try to fix the immediate need, which is what paramedics do. Now I have to step back to tie all the pieces of the puzzle together as a nurse to see the big picture.”

As a rite of passage into the nursing profession, all the nursing graduates participated in a pinning ceremony before commencement.

“It was very emotional moment for sure,” Locklear said. “It felt like a big achievement where everything just fell into place…. Being on stage with my family and all the support of my friends… it was just a great experience that I will never forget.”

During the pinning, Locklear says that UNC Health Southeastern even gave her and the other students a beautiful rose and that her instructors gave them all a t-shirt, as a gift.

“It was so nice of them to do that,” Locklear stated.

As for the future, Locklear hopes to continue working for UNC Health Southeastern. After taking a small break from studying and exams, she hopes to go back to school to get her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She also hasn’t ruled out becoming a travel nurse, which would be an opportunity to see the world, or even a flight nurse working in critical care.

Locklear, along with her classmates, will have many doors of opportunity opening up, thanks to the education they have received at Robeson Community College.

“It was a hard process, it all went by so fast,” Locklear said. “It was challenging, probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was well worth it in the end.”

“I am so thankful that I came to Robeson Community College,” Locklear added. “Everything has worked out perfect from beginning to end.”

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EMS pinning ceremony
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