HAMLET – Ten graduates of the Practical Nursing program at Richmond Community College exited the Robert L. & Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium on July 19 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 in order to become a licensed practical nurse.
Dale McInnis, RCC president, welcomed everyone to the pinning ceremony and congratulated the graduates on behalf of the RCC Board of Trustees and faculty and staff. He thanked the family and friends who supported the students over the past year and also acknowledge RCC’s nursing staff for producing another class of quality nurses.
“This pinning ceremony is a very special event and one of the highlights of our academic year as we celebrate the success of our students,” McInnis said. “We look forward to them entering a new phase in their lives and a new career.”
Licensed practical nurse Felicia Rheault, who graduated from RichmondCC’s Practical Nursing program, was the guest speaker for the pinning ceremony. She said she had learned many things in the short time that she’d been a nurse, and she passed along words of wisdom and encouragement to this next group of nurses.
“Life as a nurse is about daily challenges. Each patient and situation is different,” Rheault said. “Be ready to embrace the unexpected.”
Rheault stressed the importance of being humble and kind and treating others with respect in order to provide the best healthcare experience for the patient and his or her family.
“Treat each patient is if they are part of your own family. Listen and talk to them,” she said. “We all have things to get done in our busy work schedule, but please take a moment to show compassion and be caring.
“Nurses can pride themselves as being in a profession which holds compassion, caring and healing as three of the essential ideals. Saying that one is a nurse is something I encourage these graduates to do with pride,” Rheault added.
Graduates were presented nursing pins by head nursing instructor Carole Gibson and nursing instructor Heather Cox. The graduates were also presented a long stem rose by nursing instructor Judith Thompson.
The Practical Nursing Class of 2016 includes Sarah Cross of Laurinburg, Briana Strickland of Laurinburg, Robin Locklear of Maxton, Cierra Worriax of Maxton, Miguel Alvarez of Rockingham, Tashzna Bostic of Rockingham, Katina Davis of Rockingham, Kylie Lewis of Rockingham, Cory Moore of Rockingham and Ursula Spinks of Wagram.
Seven graduates of the program were presented awards for their outstanding achievements:
— Cory Moore 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.
— Sarah Cross 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.
— Ursula Spinks received the Sandhills Regional Medical Center Teamwork Award, which is presented by Sandhills Regional Medical Center to the graduate selected by RCC faculty who consistently demonstrates a high level of cooperation, collaboration and team spirit.
— Briana Strickland 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.
— Tashzna Bostic 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.
— Miguel Alvarez received the RCC Practical Nursing Class of 2012 Award, which is presented by the RCC 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.
— Katina Davis 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.
— Moore 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 2016 President Miguel Alvarez provided a video tribute to his classmates recounting their time as nursing students over the past year.
Practical Nursing Class of 2016 Vice President Sarah Cross led the class in reciting the nurse’s pledge, and Practical Nursing Class of 2016 Treasurer Ursula Spinks gave the benediction at the close of the ceremony.