Nursing students graduate from Colorado Mountain College program ready to serve community

Emily DeBoer gives the student address at the associate degree in nursing class of 2021’s pinning graduation ceremony May 7 at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.
Photo by Matt Lit / Colorado Mountain College

Nursing students at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge develop close relationships with their classmates and instructors throughout their time in the program.

Liz Frisch, a class of 2021 graduate, said it’s pretty unique for a graduating class to be as tight-knit as hers, though. With each graduating class having only 12 students, they work together regularly to help one another succeed.

“Anytime you’re confused or anytime you run into a roadblock, there are people that will help you figure out what to do,” Frisch said, who graduated from college over 10 years ago and worked in hospitality and marketing before deciding to change career paths.

Frisch said she met people from all walks of life in the program, which she said prioritizes community members, adding that the diverse group of students brought unique perspectives to situations in and out of the classroom.

“We’re all very different and came from very different backgrounds, but we work together really well,” Frisch said. “They were constantly encouraged. You always had people you could bounce ideas off of. It just was a really warm environment and a really great learning environment.”

Emily DeBoer accepts her associate degree in nursing from Dave Askeland, Colorado Mountain College vice president and Summit County campus dean, at the nurse pinning graduation ceremony May 7 at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.
Photo by Matt Lit / Colorado Mountain College

The students graduated from CMC at the program’s pinning ceremony May 7, when class President Emily DeBoer gave a speech to her classmates, their families and faculty. The pinning ceremony is a tradition that welcomes new nursing graduates into the profession.

Assistant nursing professor Monika Mayer said the ceremony has been around for a long time, and it’s a very intimate, personal experience for students.

DeBoer said that during her speech, she referenced Tom’s Baby — the largest piece of gold ever found in Colorado, right outside of Breckenridge — saying she found her own little golden nugget at CMC. She credited this to the people, both her classmates and her teachers.

“It’s been really nice having this small of a program, so all of us can just really get to know each other, the teachers, the students, other faculty,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer said there were three professors who taught every class she took in the program, fostering close relationships with each of them during her two years at the school.

Mayer is one of those professors, and she was selected as the 2021 Faculty of the Year at CMC’s Breckenridge campus.

Mayer, who started as a full-time professor with the school two years ago, agreed with her students that the CMC nursing program is special because of the connections she’s able to make with her students.

“I truly, truly enjoy my job, so I feel blessed that I go to work and I enjoy what I’m doing,” Mayer said. “I really enjoy teaching, and you have fun with students, so I feel very fortunate, and I am very grateful to CMC for that.”

Mayer said the support she sees from college leadership and the local community for the program is also rewarding.

Since the program accepts only 12 students, Frisch said it’s very competitive, but the small size is what makes the program what it is.

Mayer said most years, the program’s passing rate for the National Council Licensure Examination, an exam that is required to become a registered nurse in the U.S., is 100%.

Since graduating, DeBoer said she is taking things one step at a time, studying for her exams before looking for work in a hospital emergency department, possibly in Westminster, where she worked as part of earning her degree.

Frisch hopes to work in a labor and delivery unit at a hospital after getting a taste for the specialty during the program.

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