DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Healthcare facilities nationwide are facing a worker shortage, and that need has prompted colleges and universities to create additional medical programs for students.

The first cohort of the University of Dayton‘s brand-new nursing program graduated last week, and many of them have already started their nursing careers.

“This program is amazing,” India Richardson, University of Dayton nursing program graduate, said. “I’m not just saying that because I’m in that. I was in the program, but I see that the program is doing big things.”

Though it was a tough four years, Richardson said her time in the nursing program was worth it.

Richardson, along with five other students, made up the first cohort and graduates of the program, which offers students a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through a collaboration between the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College.

Though they graduated from the University of Dayton last week, Richardson is already a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital after graduating through dual enrollment at Sinclair last May, which is something Richardson said she doesn’t know if she could have done without the program.

“Just me graduating with my BSN and like, not having to do all of that,” Richardson said. “I’m only 21, so, like, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.”

The idea for this program started in 2017 and took in a cohort of 20 in 2019.

Michelle Cox, the University of Dayton nursing program director, said the students were given a lot to handle with through this program, but they have made incredible strides.

“Each one of the students that’s walked in the store has handled it amazingly,” Cox said. “They set great examples, my students that have just graduated. All of them have said, we’re not going anywhere. We are here to serve UD. It’s important for us to continue to give back to UD and to give back to the community, and I just think that speaks volumes for this institution.”