Teen earns nursing degree before getting driver’s license

PHOENIX — While most 16-year-olds are looking forward to getting a driver’s license, a California teen is driven by loftier goals.

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Elliana Tenenbaum, of Thousand Oaks, California, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, KPHO-TV reported.

According to a news release from the university, Tenenbaum enrolled in an accelerated nursing program and earned her degree in 18 months.

“We live in an ageist society, and she has proven that age really is nothing but a number,” the teen’s mother, Maya Tenenbaum, who holds a Ph.D., said in a statement.

Elliana Tenenbaum said she started the program when she was 15, KPHO reported.

“Most of my peers know, and I have been unconditionally accepted,” she told the television station. “I’m incredibly excited. It’s a culmination of all the dedication put into this program and nursing.”

The teen’s father, Steven Tenenbaum, is a doctor. He said that his daughter was studying for classes he took when he was in his 20s.

“Her ability to learn things is very impressive. The ability to dedicate herself to work hard is amazing,” Steven Tenenbaum told KPHO.

Elliana Tenenbaum sailed through high school by doubling up with college courses. She earned her high school diploma in 18 months, the university said.

The teen, along with 60 other nursing graduates, were recognized for earning their degrees at the university’s summer celebration ceremony in Phoenix on Aug. 10.

“Our program at Edson College is quite rigorous in order to adequately prepare future nurses for the workforce,” Judith Karshmer, dean of the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, said in a statement. “(Elliana’s) ability to handle the coursework and clinical experiences at such a young age is extraordinary and truly sets her apart. I’m just glad she picked us to earn her BSN and can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future.”

Now, Elliana is thinking about her future.

“Already have been applying to some nursing jobs,” she told KPHO. “In the near future, want to pursue a doctor or nurse practice.”

“It’s incredible. I can’t even fathom accomplishing what she has accomplished at her age,” Natalie Bowen, clinical assistant professor at Edson College, said in a statement. “It just speaks volumes to her maturity and drive because she’s up there with the top of her class.

“I would be her patient any day. I’m so excited for her future.”

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