Spring is the season of new life, even rebirth. It’s a fitting time for graduation ceremonies to be held, as young professionals embark on new careers that had previously been half-lived in textbooks and lectures.

Soon, thousands of members of the Class of 2012 will be flooding into the “real world” to join the team on hospital floors, in emergency clinics, and at countless other nursing facilities. Here, you’ll meet four soon-to-be members of the nursing work force, as they share the experiences that led them to their field, their hard-won advice for future students, and what they believe will keep them in nursing for the long haul.

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