BY STACI WILSON
One year ago, 11 women came together with the common goal of becoming a nurse.
On Friday evening, that goal became a reality as diplomas and nursing pins were conferred to the Practical Nursing Program graduates of the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center in Dimock.
Student speaker Brianna Stinson, of Chenango Bridge, N.Y., said, “This was the longest, hardest, most emotional, most stressful and most rewarding time of my life.”
Stinson congratulated her fellow graduates and wished them well on their now diverging paths.
Casey Williams, of Susquehanna, said that as students they had “touched the lives of patients they were caring for.”
With the instruction they received, Williams said she was now “not so nervous to step into a hospital as a nurse. We are prepared to do so.”
Clinical Supervisor Karen Killian spoke about the three phases of the program and how the students each found their personal passions in the field.
Near the end of their time spent at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Killian said a patient called for her to come to his room. The patient wished to nominate Brandy Rogers for the “Daisy Award” – an award established by the The DAISY Foundation in honor of J. Patrick Barnes created to thank nurses for extraordinary work, recognizing clinical skill and compassion.
Rogers first enrolled in the nursing program in March 2015, but a blood clot in the lung sent her to the hospital for over a week and forced her to take a leave from her studies. But she came back to the program in September 2015 and received her degree, along with the Virginia Henderson Award for professionalism at the ceremony.
Rogers said she has always been the “nurse” in the family – taking care of those close to her with medical conditions and through surgeries.
Her time spent in the hospital served to increase her desire to become a nurse. “It helped me form into the type of nurse I was going to be,” she said. “I saw good nurses – those who went above and beyond. Those nurses stick in your mind and impact your life.”
Class salutatorian Chelsea Giberson, of Tunkhannock, said that the group came together as strangers with a common goal and grew together through the yearlong training.
Valedictorian Jessica Hotaling of Wyalusing said the students learned the systems of the body but more importantly, “We learned to not just treat the disease, but the patient as a whole.”
“Not just anybody can be a good nurse,” Hotaling said, “We give voice to the voiceless and act as an advocate. Nursing consumes you. It’s beautiful when a career and passion come together.”
Those receiving diplomas included:
Valerie Adams, Springville; Ariana Gabriel, Nicholson; Chelsea Giberson, Tunkhannock; Jessica Hotaling, Wyalusing; Emily Kasson, Springville; Brittany Parago, Mehoopany; Brandy Rogers, Montrose; Chelsea Sparks, Susquehanna; Brianna Stinson, Chenango Bridge, N.Y., Catrina White, Susquehanna; and Casey Williams, Susquehanna.
Special awards were as follows:
Florence Nightingale Award: Casey Williams;
Mary Breckinridge Ward: Jessica Hotaling;
Virginia Henderson Award: Brandy Rogers;
Clara Barton Award: Catrina White;
Anna Maxwell Award: Chelsea Sparks.