15:01 PM

UST Nursing Graduates Receive a Big, Loud Surprise

Some surprises come wrapped in paper and bows, and some others come as experiences. On April 20, the graduating students of the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas – Houston (UST) received an experience they will never forget. As the sound of propellers got louder and the wind blew stronger, all of a sudden, there it was. An S-92A air medical helicopter landed on campus!

"We thought we were getting pretty for a group photo,” graduating senior Gabriela Arriaga said. “So, to see a helicopter landing was pretty intense, and it was pretty amazing that the school would do that for us."

Arriaga, who has accepted a job from Memorial Herman in Conroe, went on to recount that the job offer came after recruiters learned she was graduating from UST.

"The manager and I made a huge connection on the fact that UST focuses on holistic care,” she recalled. “That is the care for the patient's body, mind and spirit."

Dr. Michael SullivanDr. Michael Sullivan, who leads the UST Graduate Nursing Program, was the force behind this delightful educational surprise. His intention was to open students' eyes to other opportunities beyond hospitals and clinics.

Sullivan said, "Often, we pigeonhole nurses as people who work in hospitals, but there are plenty of other opportunities in nursing. One of them is emergency medicine, to be part of the transport team to get the patient to an acute care facility.”

The students were allowed to get up close to the helicopter and talk to the crew members, like paramedic Jacob Mooney.

"We love going out in the community,” Mooney said. “We encourage them to broaden their horizons. There are a lot of good things to be learned in a hospital setting but, an out-of-hospital setting broadens your perspective to flourish in your medical practice.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 194,500 new job vacancies open for registered nurses nationwide every year.