Training frontline medical professionals during a pandemic

NursesThe demand for skilled nurses, nurse assistants and paramedicine professionals continues growing and Mesa Community College (MCC) is dedicated to supporting the educational goals and needs of these essential frontline medical professionals.

Today’s classes may look a bit different compared to 2019; however, our expert faculty remain dedicated to teaching a rigorous curriculum.

The pandemic changes how we do things, not what we do. We worked with our faculty and college administrators early in spring 2020 to adjust in-person learning to virtual modalities. Classroom configurations and lab schedules were modified to provide safe in-person sessions to teach the necessary hands-on skills our students need to stay on track and meet their goals.

Woven into the fabric of MCC since 1969, the college’s Nursing Program is part of MaricopaNursing, a consortium of Maricopa Community College Nursing Programs. MCC offers an Associate’s in Applied Science in Nursing, a Certificate of Completion for nursing assistants as well as nurse refresher courses.

“The MCC Nursing program is the most requested in the Maricopa County Community College District,” said MCC Nursing Department Chair Mary Boyce, RN. “Our nurses have a consistently high National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) RN pass rates – 97% of our nurses passed the 2020 exam on their first attempt.”

The MCC Nursing program was awarded continuing accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) in 2017, affirming the quality of the program, as well as its ongoing commitment to serve students and the community at the highest possible level.

The MCC Nurse Assisting Program was restructured and moved to a renovated education facility at the Red Mountain Campus in 2019.

The course restructuring altered the traditional full-semester program into an eight-week block, allowing the college to serve more students interested in this in-demand occupation. The course prepares students for the state required exams that qualify them to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA).

Renovations to the Acacia Village Building at the Red Mountain Campus feature a 10-bed laboratory for student training. State-of-the-art equipment and media for the space were made possible through the use of Federal Carl Perkins funds.

The Paramedicine program builds upon the college’s Emergency Medical Technician program.


“We are one of Arizona’s top paramedicine programs,” said Sean Newton, MCC director of Paramedicine Education. “Our students consistently pass the paramedic National Registry exam, a majority, typically 95% or more, on their first attempt [according to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians].”

The MCC Emergency Medical Services Paramedicine Program was awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) on Sept. 15, 2017; citing the program for its high level of compliance with the nationally established accreditation standards. Onsite reviewers reported they had rarely seen a team so robust and dedicated to the success of their students, while keeping a patient-centered focus. They also noted the faculty and staff assembled at MCC are exceptional.

Support for current paramedicine professionals
In addition to preparing paramedicine professionals for the workforce, MCC serves as a resource for skill building for those already serving in the field. Inaugural offerings of two courses supporting career advancement launched in January 2021.

The Critical Care Paramedicine course prepares students to earn Critical Care and Flight Paramedicine credentialing certifications. The Paramedicine Refresher serves as continuing education to assist current providers in maintaining professional competencies and certification standards.

The Paramedic to RN Bridge Pathway at MCC offers experienced paramedics a route to advanced placement in the MaricopaNursing Program by providing paramedics with the theory and clinical competencies to successfully progress into the second or third semester of the MaricopaNursing RN Program of study.