HAMLET – Ten graduates of the Practical Nursing Program at Richmond Community College exited the Cole Auditorium on Tuesday night to a round of great applause from family and friends who supported these students over the past year.
The Practical Nursing pinning ceremony is the culmination of the 11-month program, which prepares graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination in order to become a licensed practical nurse.
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 acknowledged the nursing staff for producing another class of quality nurses.
“I’m very proud to work with the finest nursing staff in the state of North Carolina. The support and expertise they give their students is immeasurable,” McInnis said. “I congratulate these 10 students who after a long year of hard work and determination are about to enter a new life and new profession.”
Registered nurse and clinical coordinator for Scotland Healthcare Trudy Honeycutt was the guest speaker for the ceremony. A graduate of RichmondCC’s Practical Nursing Program in 2014, Honeycutt said she remembered the night four years ago when she was sitting where these nursing graduates were sitting waiting to be pinned.
Honeycutt shared some tips with the graduates that she has learned since entering the nursing field.
“Be patient with yourself, with your patients and with others,” Honeycutt said. “Take time to learn from your experiences and from your mistakes. Your first year is your foundation for your nursing career, so build on that foundation and don’t rush, or you’ll miss something along the way.”
Honeycutt encouraged the graduates to try to learn something new every day and to be quick to lend a helping hand, even before someone asks for help.
“And finally, take care of you,” Honeycutt added. “Take the time for you, your hobbies and your families, and you’ll be a better caregiver to your patients.”
Practical Nursing Class President Ashley Jackson spoke on behalf of the Class of 2018, thanking their families for believing in them and supporting them through this 11-month journey.
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 Victoria Witherspoon before receiving their diploma from the college president.
The Practical Nursing Class of 2018 includes Krystal Clark of Wagram, Miranda Cox of Laurinburg, Derisa Glenn of Laurel Hill, Maria Gonzalez of Ellerbe, Ashley Jackson of West End, Carolyn James of Rockingham, Misty Locklear of Maxton, Towanda McNeill of Laurinburg, Melissa Medlin of Laurinburg and Amy Vallandingham of Laurinburg.
Six nursing awards were presented for outstanding achievements. The recipients were:
• Melissa Medlin 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.
• Maria Gonzalez 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.
• Miranda Cox received the RichmondCC 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.
• Towanda McNeill 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.
• Ashley Jackson 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.
• Amy Vallandingham received the Jerry D. Sims Compassion and Professionalism Award, which is presented by the family of Jerry D. Sims to the graduate who demonstrates the highest degree of professionalism while providing compassionate family-centered care.
Wylie Bell is the director of marketing and communications for Richmond Community College.