Former Ag Major Switches to Nursing Worthington – Minnesota West

Former Ag Major Switches to Nursing WORTHINGTON — Josh Pomranke will join 87 other graduating students from the nursing program at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College commencement ceremony.

In a world where the nursing profession has been primarily dominated by women, Pomranke does not feel strange, awkward or out of place to be recognized as a registered nurse.

“It’s becoming more common to have male nurses,” he said.

Pomranke is the son of Lonnie and Jane Pomranke, Reading, and a 2009 Worthington High School graduate.

Throughout high school, he admitted that math and science classes did not interest him as much as agriculture subjects did.

“In high school, I wanted to do something with ag or natural resources,” he said. “I was in FFA and agriculture that potentiated the person I am today.”

Pomranke grew up in Reading, and although his parents did not farm, he helped out on relatives’ farms.

“I did things like pick rocks and bale hay,” he detailed.

Naturally with his family background, he delved into what thought was the best fit for him — agriculture major.

“I enjoyed the classes, but it was not something I could do for the rest of my life,” he said.

After his first college semester, it was time to change tracks.

“I felt a need to help people, and I thought of nursing,” he said.

After applying to the nursing program, Pomranke broke the news to his parents — both were surprised by his decision but happy for him “They’d never pushed me into any particular field,” he added.

One of Pomranke’s instructors, Diane Vangsness, noted that while he is one of the few males in the program, Pomranke is still a traditional student in terms of age.

Several of his peers are returning students ranging from age 30 to 60.

“Variety really is the spice of life,” she said.

While the non-traditional gender occupation did not faze Pomranke, he admitted that the rigorous class work challenged him.

“I thought I was going to quit in my first week,” he said.

In between attending school and working at Schwalbach Ace Hardware in Worthington, Pomranke carved out some time to volunteer for college events through the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Three years and many late nights later, he is ready to graduate and step into the health care industry.

Looking back at his college years, Pomranke is happy he chose to attend a college near home.

“I’m sure I would have fun if I’d ventured out to a four-year school, but Minnesota West is a great college to start your education,” he said. “It helped me save a lot, too, by living here.”

Vangsness, who taught Pomranke in three classes, commended his positive attitude in helping him succeed.

“I always tell my students that this program isn’t for the faint of heart, but I also tell them we don’t admit students who we don’t think will succeed,” she said. “And he’s proven it. I’m so proud of him.”

After Friday, Pomranke will be one step closer to living his passion. He is scheduled to take the state licensure exam in June.

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