Nine new nurses pinned in SGTC Fall Pinning Ceremony

Published 8:59 am Monday, December 31, 2018

AMERICUS — South Georgia Technical College’s (S GTC) Americus campus recognized its nine graduating practical nursing (PN) students with a nurse pinning ceremony recently. The ceremony, held in the college’s John M. Pope Center in Americus, honored the students for completing the program and pinned them as the newest members of the practical nursing brother and sisterhood.
Program graduates for the Fall 2018 semester included Whitney Battle of Americus, Jonathan Crowder of Buena Vista, Erica Hines of Vienna, Carswella Major of Americus, Cornesia Rogers of Americus, Elizabeth Scott of Lumpkin, Shabria Toomer of Dawson, Alyssa Turner of Ellaville, and Stefanie Turner of Oglethorpe.
The ceremony began with an invocation from graduate Jonathan Crowder, and a welcome and class overview from PN instructor Jennifer Childs. During her overview, Childs detailed the rigor that the students have undergone: 540 lecture hours attended, over 487 clinical hours served, more than 1,000 practice test questions answered, and more than 100 drug cards completed. But it was all for the purpose of training her students to be successful in the field, she says.
“Getting this pin, walking at graduation and getting your diploma means nothing without getting your license,” Childs said. “That’s why we’ve been pushing you so hard to study, do those practice tests, and just to get better and better to prepare you for taking the boards.”
Following a slideshow that highlighted the class’ time in the program, graduate Carswella Major introduced the guest speaker, Carol Cowan, RN. Cowan worked for Cooper Lighting in Americus for 28 years before being laid off in the heat of the 2008 recession. Following that moment, she decided to make a career change. She enrolled in the medical assisting diploma program at SGTC, the same college she received her associate’s degree in computer programming in 1988.
Cowan would go on to earn her medical assisting diploma in 2010, and her practical nursing diploma in 2011 from SGTC, and her associate’s degree in nursing from Darton College in 2015. After working in the field for a few years, she decided to move into an instructor role — accepting a job as SGTC’s new medical assisting instructor for the Crisp County Center campus.
“It has been said that nurses are over worked, undervalued and underpaid. Bearing that in mind, I find there is nothing more satisfying than encouraging you to be the very best nurse, and perform well in the workplace,” she said to the graduates. “This is the beginning of something new and bigger than yourself … The challenges you faced have been successfully achieved — becoming a nurse is one of the most selfless acts a person can ever take. Congratulations, graduates.”
Following Cowan’s address, instructors Jennifer Childs and Christine Rundle presented the pins and a rose to each of the program graduates. One by one, the graduates stepped onto the stage to receive their pin from the instructors or a loved one who is also in the medical field.
After each graduate received their pin, they all returned to the stage to recite the Nurse’s Pledge and participate in the traditional lighting of the lamp ceremony, led by Shabria Toomer. The ceremony is symbolic of the light that each nurse carries with them and is represented by a lighted candle lamp — similar to the lamp carried by Florence Nightingale.
After reciting the pledge, the students blew out their candles and returned to their seats. Graduate Cornesia Rogers offered an emotional closing remark to her classmates, and Christine Rundle echoed her sentiments with remarks of her own. Graduate Stefanie Turner closed out the ceremony with the prayer and benediction.
Upon completion of the program, the graduates are now eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN state board exams to become official Licensed Practical Nurses. The exam consists of 85 to 205 questions and tests all areas in the nursing profession to assure practical nurses have obtained the knowledge to practice safely in clinical settings.`

Americus campus’ nine practical nursing graduates stand with their instructors Jennifer Childs, far left, and Christine Rundle, far right, following the nurse pinning ceremony.