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New pathway launches paramedics, respiratory therapists into Beazley School of Nursing

A new pathway by Tidewater Community College offers credentialed paramedics and respiratory therapists an avenue for admission into the college’s Beazley School of Nursing through prior learning credit.

Paramedics and respiratory therapists who complete a 20-credit career studies certificate and all co-requisites can be placed into the second semester of TCC’s associate degree program in nursing.

Applications for the competitive certificate program open on Jan. 15 and close on Feb. 15. Accepted applicants begin during summer session. This is a financial-aid eligible program.

Paramedics and respiratory therapists must have passed their respective national licensure exams to apply.

The 20-credit certificate includes a four-credit class titled “Concepts for Health Professions Transition,” which must be completed during summer session.

“An overwhelming number of paramedics have wanted a pathway into our nursing school,” said Rita Bouchard, dean of Nursing. “They will be able to apply uniquely as paramedics or respiratory therapists and have an opportunity to bridge into the nursing program.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the national job outlook for registered nurses to increase by 15% through 2026.

“All of our recent graduates are employed,” Bouchard said. “There’s a huge shortage. Any graduate of the registered nursing program who wants a job gets one. Many have jobs secured before they graduate.”

The college offers associate degrees in emergency medical services and respiratory therapy. Both of those programs require an additional application along with the college’s regular application for admission.

Visit this page for all application requirements. For more information, contact

Live! Inside a Nursing skills lab

In this series, we provide a closer look at hands-on learning during COVID-19.

While COVID-19 means online learning for most Tidewater Community College students, many are in the classroom for hands-on training. In fact, more than 400 sections of classes in interior design, automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs have on-campus components. 

A peek inside a Nursing skills lab

Clinical skills labs offer nursing students the opportunity to be hands-on with what they learned in theory. Because of precautions related to COVID-19, NSG106 is taught in a hybrid format with social distancing measures in place. Simulated labs in Building C on the Portsmouth Campus are lined with hospital beds holding “patients” (mannequins), each with an individualized chart. Today’s skill is wound care. The future nurses practice how to change dressing for a wound while assessing for signs of healing or potential complications related to infection.

They practice wound irrigation and document all findings in a simulated electronic medical record.

“We’re testing their critical thinking skills about how they would a handle a situation due to an abnormal finding,” said Rita Bouchard, associate dean of TCC’s Beazley School of Nursing.

Additional skills labs in a student nurse’s initial semester include sterile techniques, catheter insertion, dosage calculation and safe medication administration.

The students will be tested on all skills to access their competency prior to Thanksgiving.

Student voices

“I’m a hands-on learner, so this is what I do best.” — Karen Everett

“We do assessments, IV tubing, dress wounds — all the interesting fun staff — in here.” — Montana Chambers

Student Casey assesses a wound under the direction of Davis.

“It’s nice to practice all the hands-on skills here before you have to do them in an actual clinical setting.” — Katie Casey

“The best part is practicing our clinical skills.” — Will Howard

About the instructor

Assistant professor Catina Davis works one-on-one during skills labs to answer specific questions, offer constructive advice and remind the students not to overlook any of the details on their checklist. Davis started at TCC as an adjunct professor in 2016. She holds a doctorate in nursing practice from Walden University, a master’s with a focus in nursing education from Old Dominion University and a bachelor’s of nursing from Norfolk State University. Davis also has maternal newborn and medical surgical nursing experience.

Howard documents his findings.

Good to know

Even first-semester nursing students participate in clinical rotations. Each spends a total of 45 hours at either a Sentara or Bon Secours facility. “Everything they learned today,” Davis said, “they will be ready to do onsite.”

More information

Learn about TCC’s associate degree program in nursing here or contact