Vance-Granville Community College honored 16 students who have completed its one-year Practical Nursing program during a pinning ceremony on Aug. 2 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. Upon receiving diplomas, graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national exam for licensed practical nurses (NCLEX-PN).
Among the graduates recognized at the ceremony were Victoria Adesina, Christine Atieno and Kristen Clay, all of Durham; Melissa Liming of Franklinton; Christina Basnight, Frank McGhee, Jr., Antonea Nowell and Katlyn Waddell, all of Henderson; Amy Bass of Louisburg; Frances Beddingfield of Oxford; Veronicah Nyakego of Raleigh; Mariana Ascencio and James Simpson, both of Roxboro; Rashida Washington of Stem; Rachael Basham and Gabrielle Hernandez, both of Wake Forest.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Levy Brown, the college’s interim vice president of academic affairs, congratulated the students on completing the rigorous program, which included precepting rotations at local health-care facilities. “With their completion of the Practical Nursing program, we are excited to watch these graduates go out into the world as Vanguard nurses,” Brown said. “Having come this far, many members of this class plan to continue their education in our LPN to ADN Transition program, for licensure as an RN, and then continue for a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Several would like to obtain a Master’s degree in order to work as Nurse Practitioners.”
VGCC Nursing Department Chair Erica Jastrow added her congratulations to the graduates on their success. “With success comes great responsibility,” she said. “These students will have the responsibility of preparing for a challenging licensing exam, and then keeping their patients safe, caring for them as if they were their own family members, and working with their team members to create a positive work environment. I am confident that they will accept these responsibilities and will excel in them.” She thanked students for their dedication and their family members and friends for supporting the graduates.
Antonea Nowell, the class president, made remarks on behalf of her fellow students. “To our faculty, we extend a special ‘thank you’ and a debt of gratitude for helping us reach our goals to become nurses,” Nowell said. “I want to congratulate my classmates. I feel honored to have been able to grow with you. We pushed through, encouraging and inspiring one another along the way. Some of us had to work full-time jobs, raise our children and travel over an hour to class, but we overcame every obstacle to make it to this moment that marks the beginning of our future.”
Kathy Bray, a longtime VGCC clinical nursing instructor and registered nurse, served as the guest speaker. She told the graduates that the mission of the nurse has three important qualities: caring, advocacy and empathy. “Caring begins with caring for yourself,” Bray advised. “If you’re not taking care of yourself, physically, emotionally and spiritually, chances are you will not be able to give optimal care to others.… Don’t forget the little things. That’s what patients and families and remember. Always greet your patient with a smile.”
Of the second component, advocacy, Bray said: “You may be called upon to provide emotional support. Outside of their families, you may be the most trusted person in the eyes of the patient.” Finally, she said that “empathy is the ability to understand another’s experience, to communicate and confirm that understanding to the patient, and then act in a helpful manner. Empathy begins when a nurse takes his or her profession seriously. The empathetic nurse views nursing not as a job or a task, but as a service to others.”
The ceremonies concluded with the graduates receiving their distinctive pins, roses and lamps. Finally, instructor Crystal Senter led the group in reciting the “Florence Nightingale Pledge” by candlelight.