First nursing school class in Saaremaa graduates in Kuressaare
Following three and a half years of studies, Friday marked graduation day for Kuressaare's first class of nursing school students under Tallinn Health Care College (TTK). Of the 26 graduates to earn professional higher education diplomas in nursing in the Saaremaa capital, 20 will be starting work at Kuressaare Hospital.
"Ever since I was little I've wanted to study medicine, and when this opportunity came to Kuressaare, I didn't think twice — I knew I had to take action," said TTK nursing student Sirli Tamm when she first started school in September 2019.
Until Thursday, Tamm had also worked on the side for several years already as an assistant nurse in the Emergency Department of Kuressaare Hospital.
"A lot of experiences, a lot of different situations," the new graduate said. "I'd say I don't regret coming here. This is what I wanted to do, and I feel like this is for me, and that I'll be staying here too."
Tamm was one of 26 graduates to be awarded their nursing diploma at Thule Koda on Friday, and on Monday will be returning to work at Kuressaare Hospital's Emergency Department — but this time with a new nametag, bearing the title nurse, not assistant nurse.
"I think that the fact that this [opportunity to study] was delivered straight to us here played a vital role," she acknowledged. "For me personally as well, because I didn't want to go live in a big city, and I'd already previously had the option of wanting to study [nursing]. I waited for a year, and I was handed this opportunity."
The Kuressaare class of 2023's studies were likewise made extraordinary by the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit Saaremaa and its capital city's hospital especially hard in 2020.
"They had only just started their studies a few months prior, and then the pandemic hit and we immediately had to put them into practice and dispatch them to help the hospital," recalled TTK Rector Ülle Ernits. "And what they managed to do was just incredible."
Among Friday's graduates were three men, including Anton Lii, who has already been working in emergency medical services (EMS) as well as intensive care.
A second nursing school class began their studies in the island's capital last February.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla