MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — School started on Tuesday for students at Minot State University, and those entering the nursing program had a special ceremony marking the beginning of their journey to becoming nurses.

On Tuesday afternoon, students in the class of 2024 for the Minot State University nursing program received their white coats.

Trinity Health sponsored the costs of the coats for the 23 students through a grant.

“It feels great. I mean nursing is a profession of compassion and caring mixed with having to have the knowledge and skills needed to take care of patients. So it’s so great to know that more people want to join the nursing profession and stand alongside us as allies,” said Amy Lee, the Minot State University nursing chair.

Hannah Schaefer, the 2022 Minot State Nurse of the Year, says nursing runs in the family and she’s excited to continue the legacy.

“My mom is a nurse and I grew up kinda in the hospital with her. It was always part of our life. And I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I thought this is, this is where I’m supposed to be. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” said Schaefer.

Lee says she’s proud of the incoming nursing students and has advice for them to carry through the next two years.

“Work hard. Know that things will be challenging, but dig deep and keep moving one step after the other and keep moving forward,” said Lee.

Schaefer also has advice for the class of 2024.

“Stick with it. It’s hard. It’s ups and downs. It’s highs and lows, but once you realize why you’re here, you can definitely use that to push yourself and on the other end, it’s gonna be great,” said Schaefer.

She says for those who may be interested in nursing, shadow or talk to a nurse to see if it’s something that you’d like to do.

This marks the third white coat ceremony held at Minot State University.

The first was for the incoming fall 2021 students.