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BCCC nursing class of 2019 celebrates with pinning ceremony

Beaufort County Community College congratulates the 37 students who graduated from the Associate Degree Nursing program on May 10. The families and supporters of the graduates packed the Harvest Church. The ceremony precedes the main commencement exercise, and it has been a tradition of the nursing program since its inception.

The graduates finished a five-semester program, including clinical experience in nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare agencies. Clinical rotations can involve 12-hour shifts, on top of studying for exams and taking classes. Students are trained in general nursing, long-term care, home health, medical surgical nursing, and intermediate and intensive care.

Of the graduating class seven where members of Gamma Beta Phi, the honor society at BCCC, and 27 were part of the Beaufort County Association of Nursing Students, a professional organization that also gives back to the community through service projects. These commitments, in addition to the long hours of study and clinical rotations, show the dedication of this class to their community and profession.

A number of students have pushed through personal challenges, deaths in the family and one childbirth. Some of the students are returning for a second degree, already having cycled through one career. Five of the students were part of TRiO Student Support Services, a program to help first-generation college students to succeed.

Graduates Sara Alston and Connor Gurkin share lessons learned, anecdotes about their faculty and the struggles and triumphs, both shared and personal, they went through to get to through the program.

Kent Dickerson, director of the nursing program, asked all the people in the audience who helped with paying bills, babysitting and emotional support to stand. Much of the crowd ended up standing. Dickerson iterated that in a similar way, the graduates will not only deal with the patients, but their families. Nurses set the tone for interactions between the family and the hospital.

ADN instructor Amanda Laughlin gave out awards to the graduating class. She presented Haley Whitener with both the Outstanding Academic Performance Award and the Award for Outstanding Leadership. Sara Alston received the Outstanding Nursing Student Award, and Tony Jordan received the Katie Paul Award for Clinical Excellence.

Molly Wells, ADN instructor, presented the DAISY in Training Awards to graduates for their delivery of clinical care in an extraordinary and compassionate way to patients and their families as they are learning. Presented through the DAISY Foundation, and in collaboration with Vidant Health, these students get hand-carved stone sculptures that represent healing and have their name placed on a national list of recipients. Wells presented Tony Jordan and Cecilia Claudio with the awards.

Students graduating from the program must pass the nursing board exam before being employed. Four of the graduates are part of the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program where they will receive their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree one year after receiving their ADN. The RIBN program seeks to increase the number of nurses with four-year degrees across the state.

These graduates will fill high-demand positions regionally with hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities, in fact almost all of them have secured positions, some with as many as three job offers. BCCC congratulates them and thanks them for their commitment to the health of our community.