QCC nursing students help make history and hope to change the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. The students recently took part in the COVID-19 vaccination process for healthcare workers at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic. This is not the first foray into nursing for most of these students, yet all say they have gained valuable lifelong skills they will take with them in their nursing careers.
As we acclimate to the changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, our current and former students and alumni are adapting as well. They are working around the clock to protect our communities as first responders, respiratory therapists, nurses, mental health workers, social service workers, custodial workers, delivery drivers, grocery store and restaurant workers who are keeping essential services running. They have the ability to jump right and and save lives with confidence because of the education they received from their talented, experienced professors.
Jansson Family alumni, from left: Jeff Jr., Jeffrey, Jarrod, Robin, Lindsey.
Jeffrey Jansson knows the value of a degree. The 1979 Respiratory Therapy graduate came to QCC by way of Holy Cross.
“I had a bachelor’s degree in French but couldn’t get a job. Half my class couldn’t get jobs,” Mr. Jansson said. “Someone had told me respiratory therapy was a good field and there were plenty of jobs.”
That was it, it was all Jeffrey needed to spring into action and become a student again and join the Respiratory Therapy program. He did the clinical portion of his degree at Memorial Hospital on Belmont Street in Worcester and was offered a position after graduation. Jeffrey would spend the next 40 years making his career as a staff Respiratory Therapist B.A.RRT. It was at Memorial Hospital that he would meet Robin, a secretary in the Emergency Department. He and Robin dated, married and started a family. Robin eventually decided she wanted to try something new while the kids were young, so she enrolled in a psychology class at QCC.
“I initially just wanted to take a course and get out of the house so I took a psychology course and thought ‘this is fabulous,'” she said. “I liked it a lot and next semester took another class.”
As someone who worked in a medical setting for so many years, nursing had been something that greatly interested her, so she decided to work toward her nursing degree. For the next 12 years, as her three children were growing, she took one class per semester, working on her prerequisites for QCC’s nursing program.
“While the children were growing I decided I was going to do this and I completed all my prerequisites then slid into the two-year nursing program." Mrs. Jansson said, adding that while she was an older non-traditional student, she never felt she was the “older one” in her classes. “I felt a lot of support."
Robin took pride in being a student and that pride was validated when she did her clinicals at Saint Vincent Hospital and UMass Hospital (University Campus).
“The staff at these hospitals would always say they loved the fact that we were QCC students. They felt like we were prepared and felt confident in us,” she said. “I felt totally prepared to enter the nursing field."
In 2009, at the age of 50 years old, Robin graduated from the nursing program. Today she is working as a Pre-Op/PACU RN at Worcester Surgical Center.
It’s All in the Family
Healthcare is truly ingrained in the Jansson family. In May of 2019, as dad was retiring after 40 years on the job, Jarrod and Lindsey were graduating with nursing and respiratory therapy degrees. Lindsey plans to attend Worcester State University this fall to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Older brother Jeff Jr. graduated from the Radiologic Technology program in 2014 with an associate degree. While Jeff Jr. is currently working as a machinist at Saint Gobain, it was his degree from QCC which helped him “get the job,” according to his mother.
While only just graduating, Jarrod has already obtained a job as a respiratory therapist at the UMass Hospital (University Campus) after passing all his licensing requirements. A particularly emotional moment for the family was during Jarrod’s pinning ceremony when his father was called to the stage to pin his son.
“Jeffrey was passing the torch to Jarrod,” Mrs. Jansson said. “We are as proud as peacocks.”
“I have many patients who are moms who say they can’t get an education I tell them they can do this. I tell them ‘take your time, go to QCC and take that one class,’” she said. “Every journey starts with a first step."