Nineteen Northeastern Technical College students made a pledge to the nursing profession on Thursday, December 13, during the practical nursing pinning ceremony held at the college’s main campus in Cheraw.
This was the 20th class to graduate the practical nursing program and one of the largest groups to complete the 12-month program since its inception in 1993.
The nursing students were recognized before family members, friends and college administrators for successfully completing the rigorous program that prepares them to take the National Council Licensure Examination in order to become licensed practical nurses.
Two students were recognized for their achievements in the nursing program. Kaylee Bowman of Chesterfield received the Practical Nursing Academic Excellence Award for having the highest grade point average and showing determination, dedication and perseverance. Trikenna Ratliff of Cheraw received the Jean L. Harris Award for Outstanding Clinical Performance for exemplifying “the total nurse” by showing an abundance of compassion and having superior clinical skills.
Class president Kristy Sellers of Chesterfield shared with the audience the experience of being a nursing student, which included many long weekends of studying, pop quizzes and early morning clinicals. However, Sellers said, because of the demanding program and its excellent instructors, she and her classmates are well equipped to be knowledgeable and caring nurses.
“We appreciate all the support our nursing instructors, Pam King and Cheryl Douglass, have given us this year and we thank them for sharing their individual experience to help make us great nurses,” Sellers said. “Thank you, NETC, for providing us with such a great program and wonderful instructors to help lead us to our career.”
It is a tradition for practical nursing students to choose a speaker for their pinning ceremony who made a memorable contribution to their education. This year, the students chose Vandy Teal-Surratt, a registered nurse from Palmetto Family Medicine who has served as a clinical instructor for NETC for many years. She offered words of wisdom to the graduating class as they begin their journey in the nursing profession.
“Please remember to never stop learning. It will protect you and your patients. Always give compassion to those in need, even if they don’t think they need it,” Teal-Surratt said. “Above all, please show that you care for others. Sometimes it is not the medicine that helps patients the most, but the love they feel around them.”
During the pinning ceremony, each student wears the traditional white nursing uniform and is formally presented with a specially designed NETC nursing pin and a symbolic lamp.
Class vice president Christie Moore of Chesterfield explained the meaning of each symbol and told the story of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, before she and her classmates recited the Nightingale Pledge and performed a ceremonial lighting of their lamps.
Nursing students Netalya Crosby and Sadie Zimmerman sang “Still Holding On” by Luther Barnes during the ceremony, and the Rev. Mike Rouse of Main Street Methodist Church in Dillon gave the invocation.
Heath Milligan, dean of instruction for NETC, provided the welcoming remarks and thanked friends and family members who provided encouragement and support for those going through the practical nursing program. Milligan also formally presented the practical nursing class of 2012 to the audience at the closing of the ceremony.
Practical nursing graduates included Kaylee Bowman of Chesterfield, Lisa Butler of Wallace, Netalya Crosby of Latta, Heather Davis of Pageland, Pamela Depugh of Florence, Stephanie Edmond of Pageland, Melanie Grant of Jefferson, Marlene Grier of Bennettsville, Tiffini Harrington of Cheraw, Rachael Kelley of Hartsville, Christie Moore of Chesterfield, Wyniquea Moore of Bennettsville, Eve Price of Bennettsville, Trikenna Ratliff of Cheraw, Tabitha Scott of Chesterfield, Courtney Sellers of Chesterfield, Kristy Sellers of Chesterfield, Pamela Williams of Bennettsville and Sadie Zimmerman of Dillon.