PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The face of graduation is changing with mandated social distancing.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, commencements are now virtual, like the one Friday afternoon at Duquesne University.

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Among the more than 1,500 students graduating was Patricia Scott of Squirrel Hill. She’s been a nurse for nearly 30 years and today was presented with her PhD in nursing.

Scott spoke for graduate students at the virtual ceremony. She says it took her nearly 7 years to earn her PhD while working full-time at the VA hospital.

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She’s on the front lines working with veterans who have long-term chronic health issues.

“I wouldn’t say that it scares me, but I am very cautious and anyone in healthcare is cautious right now, but our passion to help people overrides our personal feelings and that is what we signed up for. Our job, our passion is to help people,” she said.

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With her PhD, Scott will continue to remain on the front lines but will now add research to her responsibilities and address chronic health issues in minority communities.