Thomas Lunaburg

Boone Campus Graduate Enters Nursing Profession During COVID-19

Posted 5/5/2020

​Nursing graduation coincides with birthday of Florence Nightingale

  • Thomas Lunaburg is leaving the classroom for the Oncology Unit at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames.

  • Simulation classes have replaced preceptorship as nursing students enter the workforce during a pandemic.

  • Lunaburg cites modern nursing being founded during another crisis, the Crimean War. 

Thomas Lunaburg of Ames is celebrating National Nurses Week, May 6-12, on many fronts.

He is graduating from the DMACC Boone Campus Nursing Program and will receive a nursing pin in a social-distancing ceremony. 

And he's entering a profession he dearly loves. Lunaburg has found employment as a registered nurse in the Oncology unit at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, thanks to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' proclamation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed pre-licensure nursing students who were set to graduate this spring to complete their education early and immediately enter the workforce.

“I think it is great that we can get out into the world quicker and begin to help those in need, especially during these difficult times," Lunaburg said. “It will be hard to find a place where help isn't needed."

During the last term, Lunaburg, like all nursing students, was looking forward to participating in a preceptorship where he would be working side-by-side with a registered nurse (RN) and essentially taking on all of the responsibilities and patient load that the nurse would. The COVID-19 virus forced hospitals to not allow nursing students into the potentially dangerous environment of the hospital setting. So, Lunaburg had to learn in virtual simulation classes.

“Working a preceptorship is a huge part of the nursing program and it was something all of my classmates and I were looking forward to," Lunaburg said. “Despite this, it was important to remember that we were safe and would be graduating on time. The virtual simulations themselves are going well. I have found them very beneficial and helpful to my future practice."

Lunaburg said he is not concerned about entering the nursing profession at this stressful time.

“The nursing profession had its beginnings through Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War," Lunaburg said. “Nurses were born through times of chaos and fear. This is where nurses thrive. We are called to be in the midst of the chaos and care for those affected. I am excited to be a part of such an amazing profession and help the world through this chaotic time."

National Nurses Week is celebrated May 6th-12th, and May 12th in the anniversary of the birthday of Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing back during the Crimean War in the 1850s.

“With all of the challenges our communities are facing, it has been really inspiring to see our students rise to the occasion," said DMACC Boone Campus Nursing Chair and Professor Whitney Johnston. “We have students throughout the program who are working additional hours in health care to meet the demand and who are truly going above and beyond with their compassion and care. Their dedication to continuing their education and reaching graduation has been outstanding, and we are very proud of their hard work and determination." 


For more information, contact: Whitney Johnston, (319) 471-5114,

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