HAMLET – Ten graduates of the Practical Nursing program at Richmond Community College exited the Cole Auditorium on July 18 with lighted lamps in a symbolic gesture of beginning a journey into a noble profession.
The Practical Nursing pinning ceremony is the culmination of the yearlong program, which prepares graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN).
Dr. Dale McInnis, RichmondCC president, welcomed everyone to the pinning ceremony and congratulated the graduates on behalf of the Board of Trustees and faculty and staff. He thanked the family and friends who supported the students over the past year and also acknowledge the nursing staff for producing another class of quality nurses.
“Tonight, we celebrate the accomplishments of 10 very special young ladies,” McInnis said. “We look forward to them entering a new phase in their lives and a new career.”
Vice President of Quality for FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Cindy McDonald, guest speaker for the ceremony, provided words of wisdom and encouragement to the next group of nurses. She said the pinning ceremony was a milestone for these students whose hard work, dedication, endless hours of study, and hours of tears had paid off.
“Soon you will be one of the elite. Nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the nation,” she said.
McDonald stressed the importance of continuing to learn and treating others with respect to provide the best healthcare experience for the patient and his or her family.
“I realized very quickly that I had a lot to learn and that learning did not end when I received my degree and it will not end with yours. In fact, it’s just starting,” she said. “As a nurse it was my expectations that I go above and beyond for my patients and the families that I took care of.
“I promise you the blessings you give your patients will be returned to you a million times more. You have an incredible opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life every single day you go to work,” McDonald added.
Graduates were presented nursing pins by Nursing Department Chair Janet Sims and nursing instructor Heather Cox. The graduates were also presented a long stem rose by nursing instructor Judith Thompson.
The Practical Nursing Class of 2017 includes Whitney Brown of Whiteville, Sabrina Copeland of Wadesboro, Mikala Greene of Star, Tara Gurano of Hamlet, Chelsi Hernandez of Laurinburg, Gina Jordan of Laurinburg, Jessica Kirwin of Rockingham, Becky McDonald of Laurinburg, Kanestra Wall of Wadesboro, and Jessica Wilkes of Hamlet.
Eight nursing awards were presented for outstanding achievements. The recipients were:
• Kanestra Wall received the FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital Compassionate Caregiver Award, which is presented by FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital to the graduate who best exemplifies the traits of caring, compassion, empathy and family-centered nursing practice.
• Chelsi Hernandez received the Scotland Memorial Hospital Nursing Service Award. Determined by the vote of the nursing director and nurse managers, this award is presented by the hospital to the graduate who demonstrates the best scholastic ability, professionalism, interpersonal relationships and caring attitude.
• Whitney Brown received the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hamlet Teamwork Award, which is presented by FirstHealth Moore Regional Hamlet to the graduate selected by College faculty who consistently demonstrates a high level of cooperation, collaboration and team spirit.
• Kanestra Wall received the Practical Nursing Faculty Award, which is presented to the graduate who has shown a commitment to nursing and education while overcoming personal and academic obstacles.
• Sabrina Copeland received the James Edison Sellers Sr. Memorial Nursing Award, which is presented by the family of James Edison Sellers to the graduate who has shown the most care and compassion to cancer patients.
• Jessica Kirwin received the RichmondCC Practical Nursing Class of 2012 Award, which is presented by the Practical Nursing Class of 2012 to the graduate who has achieved success in the classroom setting as well as shown exceptional care and compassion in the clinical setting.
• Mikala Greene received the Felicia Rheault Award for Superior Performance in Geriatric Nursing, which is presented by the Dennis Family to the graduate who shows exceptional promise in working with elderly populations, especially in relation to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and memory disorders.
• Kanestra Wall also received the Dr. Diane Honeycutt Practical Nursing Education Academic Excellence Award, which is presented by Dr. Diane Honeycutt to the graduate achieving the highest grade point average in recognition of his or her exceptional effort and academic accomplishments.
Practical Nursing Class of 2017 President Kanestra Wall provided a video tribute to her classmates recounting their time as nursing students over the past year.
Practical Nursing Class of 2017 Vice President Jessica Wilkes led the class in reciting the nurse’s pledge, and Jessica Kirwin gave the benediction at the close of the ceremony.