YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Alex Carano was 1 of 86 Youngstown State University sophomore nursing students who received their white coats on Monday. It’s an early but significant step in their nursing careers.

Lexi Wonner of Petersburg and Steven Zordich of Canfield sat patiently in YSU’s Kilcawley Center amidst the white coats draped across laps and arms. They were among the second-year nursing students taking part in the white coat ceremony.

“It’s very difficult just to get to this point. So I’m just excited to be here with my peers and just celebrate this night,” Wonner said.

“It’s been tough. Nothing I can’t handle. You just got to put in the time and the hours, the studying, and you can do it,” Zordich said.

“So up until now, they’ve had their health assessment classes, their fundamentals classes and now they’re actually going to start their clinical rotations,” said associate professor Lori Fusco.

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of students, who walked onto the stage carrying their white coats and walked off with them on.

“This is a huge deal because up until now, they’ve just practiced with each other in the lab and they haven’t actually got to go out into the community and provide care to actual patients. So this is the true beginning of their nursing journey,” said assistant professor Laura Calcagni.

For some of the people who received their coats, that journey begins immediately.

Reporter Stan Boney: “When are you actually going to start your clinicals?”
Wonner: “Tomorrow morning.”
Boney: “You a little nervous for that one?”
Wonner: “A little bit, but I’m excited.”

Boney: “Where do you hope to end up someday?”
Zordich: “I would like to be at the Cleveland Clinic, hopefully, as a nurse anesthetist.”
Boney: “That’s the goal?”
Zordich: “That’s the goal.”

YSU Provost Brien Smith spoke at the ceremony, telling the 400 people in attendance that 100 percent of the university’s nursing students have a job within six months of graduating.