Laurel Ridge provided first steps on Stephens City man’s path to nurse practitioner

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Laurel Ridge-trained nurse John Alger has answered the call to help where it is greatly needed – at a medical center in Boston treating coronavirus patients.

“On April 19, I fly out to Boston for a contract to help with the Covid-19 patients there,” said Alger, who lives in Stephens City. “It’s a crisis contract. I just wanted to do my part to help out those who need it most. Boston really needs some help. They’re having an uptick in cases.

“It’s Massachusetts General, one of the highest-rated hospitals in the country right now. I’m excited to experience that health care system.”

For now, he’s scheduled to be in Boston for four weeks, but it’s likely he’ll be asked to remain another four weeks.

Prior to Boston, Alger had been taking care of coronavirus patients at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Homeschooled, Alger began taking dual-enrollment classes at Laurel Ridge his senior year. After his high school graduation in December 2011, he continued his courses at Lord Fairfax, entering the licensed practical nursing program in fall 2012.

The clinical hours Alger was able to get under his belt his first semester in the LPN program allowed him to take the certified nurse aide licensure exam and work as a home health aide for six months before completing his LPN course.

As an LPN, Alger worked for a pediatric practice in Woodstock while he undertook his LPN to RN (registered nursing) progression at Laurel Ridge.

After earning his associate degree in registered nursing, Alger attained his bachelor’s degree in nursing at George Mason University. He is continuing his studying, and expects to earn his doctor of nursing practice degree from GMU in May 2022.

For the past couple of years, Alger has been working as a travel nurse. He works in the step-down unit, where patients go when released from the intensive care unit.

“I just wanted to get out there and have some different experiences,” he said. “I like the idea of going from facility to facility, helping out when they need additional staff.”

The job has taken him to 15 states and 11 countries, including the Bahamas, Iceland, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

A desire to make a difference and to interact with others led Alger to nursing.

“Laurel Ridge had a great history with their nursing program,” he said.

While at Inova, Alger cared for patients suffering from coronavirus.

“Preparation is key, as is knowing your fundamentals,” he said. “You’re there to help people and care for them in their sickest time. I get to go to work and leave work knowing that I made a difference and helped care for my fellow men and women.”

While at Laurel Ridge, Alger received help in the form of several scholarships – a College Board Scholarship, the Barnett Family Scholarship Fund and the Carroll S. and Velma M. Hockman Endowed Scholarship.

“Lord Fairfax was a great starting point,” Alger said. “They give you the essentials to succeed in the workforce – especially in health care – and really at a discounted price. You get a premier education for an affordable rate.”

Learn more about the nursing program at