MTCC practical nursing graduates are workforce ready

The Practical Nursing Program at McDowell Technical Community College held the college’s annual “pinning” ceremony earlier this month, saluting the class of 2023 as they prepare to enter the local and regional healthcare workforce.

Sixteen graduates completed the rigorous practical nursing education program over the last 12 months, as well as additional general education requirements.

As part of the ceremony, graduates received their nursing pins and a replica of the so-called Florence Nightingale lamp, named for the founder of modern nursing. Dr. Beverly Watts, retired dean and instructor at McDowell Tech, was the keynote speaker. Watts has been well-known to nursing graduates for the last couple of decades for teaching a medication dosage calculations class specifically designed to assist students in brushing up on their mathematics skills as they begin the program and prepare nursing students to meet their medication dosage calculation competency.

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Vocalist LaRhonda Carlton provided special music for the celebration.

Nursing faculty and administrators presented special awards to two of this year’s graduates. Aleijah O’Neil received an award for “Most Outstanding Nursing Student,” and Brittany Epley received the annual “Clinical Excellence Award.”

“We are immensely proud of these graduates,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC president. “They have received the best classroom and clinical instruction anywhere around from our dedicated team of nursing instructors, and we are confident that they will represent us well in the workforce, following best practices and establishing a tradition of excellence in patient care. These are the young men and women who will provide direct, hands-on care for our families, our friends and our communities for decades to come. We thank them in advance for their service and wish them well in all of their future endeavors.”

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