14 NJC nursing graduates have completed all of their training during a pandemic – Sterling Journal-Advocate

A new generation of nurses is entering the medical field and they are ready for any challenges ahead after having to complete all their training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Northeastern Junior College recognized 14 graduates Thursday night at its associate degree pinning ceremony.

The ceremony began with an invocation from graduate Kaitlyn Houghton and a welcome from Julie Brower, Director of the Nursing Program, followed by remarks from guest speaker Jody Kind, Director of Client Services at the Department of Health at northeast Colorado. She congratulated the graduates for accomplishing such a remarkable thing, noting that nursing continues to be one of the hardest degrees to earn, as well as one of the most respected professions.

“As a new nursing graduate, you’ve done something no one else has done. You have blazed a new trail in nursing. You are part of a class of students who have completed all of their training during a pandemic,” Kind said. “You’ve faced adversity every step of the way. So now it’s time to celebrate.

She then shared some important things she learned and remembered from COVID, telling graduates to have no regrets, educate yourself, do your research, listen to your feelings, and make your own decisions.

“Far too many people have left us unexpectedly over the past two years, lives have been changed forever. It is important to recognize that life is precious,” Kind said. “Open your heart to others. Accept people for who they are and their ability to be who they can be.

She also told graduates not to be judgmental of others and to take responsibility for themselves, and ended with a poem, “The Soul Journey” by Tahlia Hunter.

Next, Class President Lindsey Nestor delivered her speech, recalling the struggles graduates have faced literally since day one, when their first week of classes in 2020 was canceled due to COVID.

“Right from the start, our class learned all about the term ‘flexibility’. When nursing school finally started, the 18 of us all got to know each other in masks, sitting six feet apart. As our freshman year continued, classes and clinics were frequently canceled, but unfortunately studies and homework were not,” Nestor said. “We even had online classes through WebEx, believe it or not, and it was tough. We have learned to live our life day to day and adapt to whatever the curve life has decided to throw at us.

At the end of the first year, there were 15 classmates left. Difficulties came as friends did not continue, but other friendships grew stronger.

At the start of the group’s final year in nursing school, new faces joined their nursing family and 20 of them sat in a classroom almost side by side. It was a huge change. But 14 of them, “the last survivors”, survived and were able to celebrate their success at graduation.

“To say these people are flexible is an understatement. I wholeheartedly believe that the NJC has produced the most resilient and dedicated nurses you will ever have the pleasure of knowing,” said Nestor.

Over the next few years, most graduates will continue to participate in RN, BSN, MSN programs, become traveling nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and many other career paths.

“As you continue to write your pages in your own book, take our class quote from Adlaia Stevenson ‘when you leave here, remember why you care,’ with you,” Nestor told his friends. fellow graduates.

Following her remarks, Kelsey Dillinger, Associate Professor of Nursing, recognized the scholarship recipients which include: Nicole Jimenez, Kaitlyn Houghton, Jessica Teter, Shenette Morandarte, Andrea McCallum and Taylor Boerner.

Dillinger thanked Bob and Norma Plank for all their support for the program, helping secure many scholarships for the students.

Later, two special prizes were awarded.

The Highest Academic Average Award, presented by the Sterling Rotary Club, went to Kaitlyn Houghton and Kaylee Shell.

Andrea McCallun received the coveted Best Bedside Nurse award from the Sterling Lions Club. This award is very special since the recipient is chosen by the faculty of nursing who work with the students in the clinical setting. This person is rewarded for demonstrating the best patient care and compassion while training as a nurse.

The Faculty of Nursing then spoke about the history of the pinning ceremony and the importance of nurses.

“Nurses make a difference in the lives of patients and the health of their communities, but becoming a nurse takes a lot of hard work, as those honored here tonight can attest. Nursing students must acquire advanced knowledge and advanced practical skills to be effective on the front lines of patient care,” they said.

Then it was time for the graduates to walk across the stage and receive their nursing pin. Each was pinned down by one of their family members and after receiving their certificate, as they left the stage, they received a New Testament from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Gideons.

Class of 2022 includes: Eve Corenne Alexander of Ft. Collins, Taylor Brianne Boerner of Haxtun, Gabrielle Nicole Cone of Sterling, Emily Alyse Fleckenstein of Sterling, Mandy Leigh Goble of Otis, Kaitlyn Rose Houghton of Sterling, Nicole Jimenez of Mountainair, NM, Andrea Lynn McCallum of Holyoke, Joseph Glenn Miles of Oklahoma City, Okla., Shenette Abegail O. Morandarte of Denver, Lindsey Jean Nestor of Ft. Morgan, Kaylee Allison Schell of Buena Vista, Kayla Marie Soto of Akron and Jessica Kristine Teter of Byers.

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