Special to the Daily Journal
HAMLET — Ten graduates of the Practical Nursing program at Richmond Community College exited the Robert L. & Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium on July 21 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.
Dr. 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.
“Congratulations and best of luck to all of our graduates as they move forward in this new career,” McInnis said.
Registered nurse Donna Gibson was the guest speaker for the pinning ceremony.
“You have worked very hard for this day,” Gibson said to the Class of 2015. “You have a chosen to enter a wonderful profession. It will prove to be challenging at times, but it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done.”
Gibson, who graduated from RCC’s nursing program in 2002, advised the graduates to always treat their patients as they would like to be treated and to maintain compassion in all situations.
“This is a lifelong journey, and there will be bumps along the way,” Gibson said. “Stay focused on delivering high quality, compassionate patient care and continue on your educational paths in nursing. Furthering your education will be extremely important in your nursing career.”
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 2015 includes Katie Baker of Rockingham, Brandi Benfield of Whispering Pines, Amy Davis of Rockingham, Kristen Hucks of Laurinburg, Jessica Huggins of Hamlet, Katherine McLain of Hamlet, Elizabeth Patterson of Rockingham, Jennifer Peele of Laurinburg, Felicia Rheault of Rockingham and Katina Sammons of Maxton.
Six graduates of the program were presented awards for their outstanding achievements:
• Amy Davis 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.
• Kristen Hucks 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.
• Katie Baker 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.
• Jessica Huggins 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.
• Brandi Benfield 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.
• Felicia Rheault 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.
• Katherine McLain 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 2015 President Felicia Rheault provided a video tribute to her classmates recounting their time as nursing students over the past year.
Practical Nursing Class of 2015 Vice President Katie Baker led the class in reciting the nurse’s pledge, and Practical Nursing Class of 2015 Treasurer Brandi Benfield gave the benediction at the close of the ceremony.