PEARL – Protecting and serving the public has been a way of life for Matthew McCain for 12 years as a police officer in Flowood. Those ideals won’t change much in a new career he’s starting, thanks to Hinds Community College.

“Law enforcement is a fantastic career to have,” said McCain, 34, a Brandon native. “It’s a huge brotherhood and I’ve been a part of some fantastic teams, such as our K-9 and SWAT teams. But, I feel like as a nurse it’s a good way to help people where people are in need and are happy to see you.”

He’s in his first semester of the Associate Degree Nursing program at Hinds Community College’s Rankin Campus and is on track to graduate from the challenging program in 2021. “I’ve always been someone who wants to challenge himself,” he said, referring to the rigors of the nursing program in terms of studying and preparation. “Everybody I’ve talked to has said it’s challenging, but has good things to say about the program at Hinds. If I hear someone say, ‘This program’s the best,’ then I want to tackle that program. I don’t like settling for anything less than the best.”

His hands-on training, including visits with patients in hospitals in real situations, is just a taste of what he wants to do with a healthcare credential in hand. “I’d like to do some critical care nursing to get some experience, mainly in ICUs,” he said. “I’d also like to eventually work in ERs, though, because of the adrenaline.”

The full two-year program prepares graduates to provide competent, accountable client care in diverse settings. Major areas of emphasis encompass the following core components of nursing practice: professional behaviors, communication, assessment, clinical decision-making, caring interventions, teaching and learning, collaboration and managing care.

Two options are available, which include Generic option, for those not already licensed in healthcare industries, and the Transition to RN option, designed for licensed practical nurses, paramedics and respiratory therapists to ease into the RN program. McCain’s goal is to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and work in the Intensive Care Unit.

“Hinds has the latest technical equipment for the processes we have to do,” McCain said of his start this semester in the generic option. “We have mechanical manikins on which you can practice taking all the vital signs, listen for the respiration, take the pulse, take the blood pressure, all that kind of stuff. And the instructors here are phenomenal. They stress that we are the advocates for that patient in every way.”

Instructors note his being an advocate for his fellow students as well. “He is always a gentleman and volunteers to help his peers however he can,” said Beverly Patrick, among his instructors in the ADN program on the Rankin Campus. “We are looking forward to seeing Matt graduate so he can begin his new chapter in life as a registered nurse.”

“And the instructors here are phenomenal. They stress that we are the advocates for that patient in every way.””

Returning to school to provide a stable future for his two daughters, Tinsley, 7, and Tatum, 8, makes the challenge even that more important, he said. “Coming back to school as an adult, I have a completely different perspective on school,” he said. “It means a whole lot more to me now. It’s best to do the hard stuff when you’re fresh out of high school. With college, it gets significantly harder the longer you wait.”

To find out more about the nursing programs at Hinds CC, visit our Nursing & Allied Health programs of study page.