RCC helps student turn dream of working in health care into reality

Maureen A. Metzger

Jordan Deese is living out his dream as a registered nurse for Southeastern Regional Medical Center thanks to Robeson Community College. Deese is one of RCC’s first graduates of the Paramedic to RN Bridge program.

A lifelong Robeson County resident and a Purnell Swett Class of 2015 graduate, Deese started his health-care career early. While in high school, he enrolled in the Emergency Medical Training course through the Public Schools of Robeson County Career Center and began work with Robeson County EMS upon graduating from high school.

After high school graduation, Deese originally had plans to go to medical school and started that path at The University of North Carolina Pembroke.

“I went to UNCP for a year because I thought I wanted to go to medical school, and then I changed mind, and career path, and decided to become a paramedic,” Deese said.

Once deciding on a slightly different career path, Deese enrolled in the Emergency Medical Science Curriculum at RCC, and in May 2018 graduated with an associate’s degree and Paramedic Certification.

Still wanting to climb higher in the health-care field, Deese enrolled in RCC’s inaugural glass of Paramedic to RN Advance Placement Program. By May, Deese once again graduated from RCC and took the state test to become a registered nurse. He is currently working at Southeastern Health Regional Medical Center as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department.

“Jordan was an exceptional paramedic in the county, who is now an exceptional registered nurse after completing the new RCC Paramedic to RN Bridge program,” said Eva Meekins, director of Nursing at RCC. “The Paramedic to RN program is an advanced placement option in the Associate Degree Nursing program that was created in collaboration with Emergency Medical Services. Paramedics accepted to the program can earn an ADN degree in as little as 13 months.”

Through the bridging program, current credentialed EMT-paramedics receive 47 credit hours of advanced placement. The remaining course work to complete the AAS in Emergency Medical Science requires 27 to 32 additional semester hours of coursework.

“This program allows for credentialed paramedics to obtain the hospital skills needed to work in a controlled environment while utilizing their previous prehospital experiences to provide excellent patient care and improve patient outcomes,” said Eric Freeman, department chair of Emergency Medical Services & Health Occupations.

Deese thinks fondly of his time at RCC. While enrolled in classes, he began teaching entry-level courses for the EMS Certification.

“When we were in class, especially when we were going through cardiology, I was the one in front of the room with a marker in hand in our study sessions. I love teaching,” Deese said.

The program was fantastic, but at times challenging, he said.

“As a nurse currently working in a pandemic, I appreciate the program and I appreciate the challenges it presented to me. It prepared me for the workforce,” Deese said.

Deeses’ education doesn’t end with RCC. Starting in January, he will begin the RN to BSN Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, which will take him about one year to complete.

Deese has several goals he wants to reach.

“What’s nice about nursing, it allows you to have multiple goals. I still have several goals that I want to attain, they will just get done at different times. One particular goal and probably the shorter-term goal is to become a nurse educator. I love teaching,” Deese said.

His long-term goal is to become certified nurse anesthetist.

“Jordan identified his career pathway early in life. While the path hasn’t been perfect, his perseverance and commitment to his goal has gotten him where he is today,” Freeman said.

Choosing RCC was an easy decision for Deese because it offered the degree program that he could not find at other colleges, and it felt like home.

“RCC offered me a program to reach my goal in a shorter amount of time. I could have gone to nursing school and followed the traditional route, but through the advanced placement program, it recognized that I had health experience and then gave me credit for that experience,” Deese said.

Deese also loved the smaller class sizes that RCC can offer.

“We got one-on-one training from our instructors. To go into health care and do clinical and then take care of someone’s family member, it’s a big deal, and our instructors were supporting us and educating us 100% of the time,” Deese said.

While enrolled in RCC, Deese continued working part-time at Robeson County EMS and was teaching at the college, which for him, was a different experience — teaching at a college while going there at the same time.

“It helped me become a better educator and a better student,” Deese said.

For more information on the Paramedic to RN program at RCC, go to www.robeson.edu.

Maureen A. Metzger is the Public Information associate at Robeson Community College. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or by calling 910-740-3615.