After 21 months of intensive studying and clinical rotations, students in Northeastern Technical College’s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program were ready to graduate and celebrate.
And so were the families and friends who provided them with support over the past two years.
Nancy White, interim director of the Nursing Department, welcomed family and friends to the pinning ceremony for the ADN Class of 2012 on Friday, May 11, in Cheraw.
“This is our fourth graduating class since the Associate Degree in Nursing program started at our college,” White said. “We are very proud to be able to say that the majority of our graduates are employed within a 50-mile radius of NETC. We strive to produce great nurses, and we will continue to do so each year.”
Twenty-three students graduated from the program that prepares them to take the National Council of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) in order to become fully licensed registered nurses (RN).
“These students have worked very diligently to get to where they are tonight,” White said. “We thank you for coming and showing your dedication to our students for all the hard work they have done.”
White presented two graduates with achievement awards. Connie Graham of Hartsville received the Award for Outstanding Clinical Performance. Gina Goddard of Cheraw received the Award for Registered Nursing Academic Excellence.
Goddard, also the nursing class president, addressed the audience on behalf of her classmates, thanking NETC’s administration for providing the ADN program at the college. She also thanked everyone who supported a nursing student through the program.
“You are the most important people in our lives and played a huge role in our success,” Goddard said. “You have sacrificed many things so we could pursue our dream of becoming a nurse. We truly would not be sitting here tonight if not for your support, love and encouragement.”
Goddard also thanked her fellow classmates for their support during the many ups and downs they shared as they prepared for a career in nursing.
“Tonight, we will leave this place and go many different directions, but I know we will always be bound by this experience and the time we spent together at NETC,” Goddard said.
The ADN Class of 2012 invited Heath Milligan, NETC’s dean of instruction, to be the guest speaker at the pinning ceremony. Milligan spoke about how he had come to know many in the nursing program over the past two years, learning the varied pathways the students had taken along their journey to becoming a nurse and what motivated them to enter the nursing field.
“Tonight, I would like to leave you with a few challenges as you continue onto the next phase of your journey,” Milligan said. “Don’t simply meet the established standards of nursing care — instead, raise those standards. Be a positive role model for those you work with and for nursing students who will follow in your path.”
Milligan also noted that the pinning ceremony was being held during Nurses Appreciation Week.
“Let me extend a ‘thank you’ to your instructors, the class, and anyone in the audience who works as a nurse, for all that you do,” Milligan said.
Each graduate of the nursing program wore a nursing cap and received a pin and symbolic lamp, which was then lit as graduates recited the Nightingale Pledge in memory of pioneer of modern nursing Florence Nightingale.
Class Vice President Amy Boan explained the significance of these three symbols of nursing: the cap symbolizes service to those in need; the nursing pin symbolizes medical care for the wounded and sick; and the lighted lamp symbolizes the continued search for knowledge and enlightenment.