Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin and MedNexus Executive Director David Szymanski presented the students with new lab coats during an afternoon ceremony.
The first cohort of students at the University of North Florida MedNexus in Palm Coast's Town Center has completed its first semester.
MedNexus, dedicated to higher education for healthcare professionals like nurses and therapists, opened this past fall term with 21 undergraduate prelicensure nursing students and held a "Scrub Day" ceremony on Dec. 7 to mark their successful completion of the semester.
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin and MedNexus Executive Director David Szymanski — who stepped down from his position as president of UNF to take the MedNexus role — presented the students with new lab coats during the afternoon ceremony.
"I can’t tell you what a wonderful milestone that is, to see those bright shining happy faces," Alfin said during a Dec. 7 City Council meeting. "These are ... nursing students who will now be available to serve our community here locally. Another example of how we are working to ... provide opportunities to those younger residents of the city of Palm Coast."
MedNexus involves a partnership between the city, UNF, Daytona State College, AdventHealth and others to provide higher education opportunities for local students interested in health care careers.
The students in the Palm Coast Nursing Scholars program are expected to graduate in the summer of 2023, according to UNF Media Relations Director Ginny Walthour.
UNF hopes to admit another 21 for the Fall 2022 term. Class sizes are limited by the number of local clinical spots available in area hospitals, Walthour said.
MedNexus plans to admit at least another 24 freshmen nursing students for Fall 2022 with the expectation that they'll become Palm Coast undergraduate prelicensure students in the Fall 2023 term, she added. For information on MedNexus offerings, go to https://www.unf.edu/UNFMedNexus/.
UNF also offers an online master of science in nursing (MSN) program with tracks for education and leadership, as well as a family nurse practitioner program, a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) program and a nurse anesthesiology program.
For more information on UNF's graduate-level nursing programs, go to https://www.unf.edu/brooks/nursing/graduate_programs.aspx.