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The pandemic has been challenging for nurses, but their actions might be inspiring the profession’s next generation By Ken Sturtz Destiny Fitzsimmons was among 36 students who graduated in May from Cayuga Community College’s nursing program. She never expected to start off in nursing in the midst of a global pandemic. “It was all trial and error,” she says. “Everything was still new.” Last spring, as the pandemic that would kill more than 500,000 Americans enveloped the country’s health care system, Destiny Fitzsimmons prepared to enter the unfolding maelstrom. Fitzsimmons, of Oswego, was among 36 students who graduated in May from Cayuga Community College’s nursing program. The students were forced to finish their courses for the spring semester through a distance learning format and the traditional nurses’ pinning ceremony was replaced by a socially distanced drive-thru event. Within days of graduating, Fitzsimmons began working as a graduate nurse in the intensive care unit at Oswego Hospital. The pandemic has exacerbated a nationwide shortage of nurses and battered the profession like nothing else in recent memory. Over the last year nurses have been forced to adapt constantly to the changing situation. They’ve cared for the sick and comforted the dying. They’ve