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.
The pinning ceremony is the culmination of the 11-month Practical Nursing program, which prepares graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination in order to become licensed practical nurses.
“I’m very proud to work with the finest nursing staff in the state of North Carolina,” RCC President Dale McInnis said in his welcoming remarks. “The support and expertise they give their students is immeasurable.
“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.”
Trudy Honeycutt, registered nurse and clinical coordinator for Scotland Healthcare, was guest speaker for the ceremony.
A graduate of RCC’s Practical Nursing program in 2014, Honeycutt said she remembered the night she was sitting where the new graduates were waiting to be pinned.
And she shared some tips for work in 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 every day and to be quick to lend a helping hand, even before someone asks for help.
“And finally, take care of you,” Honeycutt said. “Take the time for you, your hobbies and your families, and you’ll be a better caregiver to your patients.”
Class president Ashley Jackson thanked class members’ families for believing in them and supporting them.
Nursing Department Chair Janet Sims and nursing instructor Heather Cox presented the graduates with their pins. Each graduate also received a long-stemmed rose from instructor Victoria Witherspoon before receiving their diplomas from McInnis.
Six class members also received awards were presented for outstanding achievement:
— Melissa Medlin received the FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital Compassionate Caregiver Award, presented 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, the award goes to the graduate who demonstrates the best scholastic ability, professionalism, interpersonal relationships and caring attitude.
— Miranda Cox received the RCC Practical Nursing Faculty Award, 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, 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, presented to the graduate achieving the highest grade-point average.
— Amy Vallandingham received the Jerry D. Sims Compassion and Professionalism Award, presented to the graduate who demonstrates the highest degree of professionalism while providing compassionate family-centered care.
Members of RCC’s Practical Nursing Class of 2018 are (front row) Miranda Cox, Melissa Medlin and Krystal Clark; (second row) Amy Vallandingham, Towanda McNeill and Maria Gonzalez; and (third row) Carolyn James, Misty Locklear, Derisa Glenn and Ashley Jackson.