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MedWatch: Nursing School

This is Nurses Week, a time to honor those tireless workers who are always there, keeping us and our families’ healthy.

It’s not an easy job. There’s a lot of running around, long days and nights and the potential to see a lot of heartbreak.

But for many, it’s a calling, and they can fulfill their dreams without leaving Traverse City.

Learn more about the programs there in today’s MedWatch report.  

"You have to love taking care of people, helping people, providing care."

This is Michelle Bennett’s second career. She’s now a graduate nurse in the cardiac unit at Munson Medical Center.

"Before I pursued nursing, I was a licensed in-home day care provider and I started the nursing program. After my first semester there, I started here at Munson as a nursing assistant. After my first year, I became a nurse technician," explains Michelle.

Now she just has to pass her state boards, then she will be an R.N., and she’ll already have a job.

"I want to stay in cardiac and I’ve been offered a position as a graduate nurse in this unit, my home unit, A-4," says Michelle.

Michelle did all of her schooling online through Northwestern Michigan College, they’ve partnered with Munson for decades.

"NMC has been providing nursing students to the area from the 1950s on, and we have a great relationship with them. We take a majority of their students here to do clinicals, and place them on various units and shifts," says Gina Ranger, Munson Medical Center clinical recruiter. 

Like Michelle, many of those graduates end up working here, in a familiar place.

And there is plenty of incentive to continue their education.

"The fact that Munson provides $5,000 a year annually to their nurses for them to continue with their bachelor’s, or master’s, or even beyond that is pretty unheard of throughout the state," explains Ranger.

These are jobs that Munson is typically looking to fill.

"We still have plenty of opportunities to hire, always looking at new graduates as well as experienced staff for our shifts," says Ranger

Michelle says the education is great for those who may not be sure this is the path for them.

"I think starting out as a nursing assistant is a wonderful way to see if this is the type of work you want to get into, the patient care aspect, and you really see what the nurses do. You can kind of get a feel for whether it’s right for you," explains Michelle.

For her, that time and dedication has paid off. She’s excited about her new journey.

"You have to have a lot of compassion and understanding, but it’s very rewarding seeing that you can help somebody and they leave in a better condition than when they came in. They really appreciate it and they understand what we all put into their care."