Combined with 23 alumni who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in nursing at the college’s 2016 spring commencement ceremony, these students bring the total charter nursing class to 47. Following their graduation tomorrow, they will prepare to take their nursing boards, which they must pass to begin their careers.
“Our innovative program recently received full approval by the Georgia Board of Nursing, which requires a baseline of student data before it can grant approval to new programs,” said GGC President Stas Preczewski in his welcome remarks. “One of those data points is achieving a national benchmark for passing the nursing boards, an exam required to begin one’s nursing practice. We are proud that the first half of our charter nursing class surpassed that mark, and 100 percent of them are employed. We expect the same of the 24 new nurses we honor tonight.”
Pinning ceremonies are based on decades of traditions. Solemn but uplifting, the event marks the entrance of graduating nursing students into the profession. The program included presentations of the GGC nursing program’s unique pins, lighting of nurses’ lamps and recitation of a variation of the Nightingale Pledge. The deeply meaningful event was attended by students, faculty, staff and family members.
The ceremony included four special awards presented by Eastside Medical Center, also a charter nursing partner. Julia Westbrook of Loganville received the Clinical Excellence Award; James Lam of Lawrenceville received the Nursing as Caring Award; Angelique Noble of Lawrenceville received the program’s Professional Leadership Award and Oana Purcar of Lawrenceville received the Pillar Award. The Pillar Award recognizes excellence in GGC’s four pillars of scholarship, leadership, service and creativity.
Two members of the class were recently noted for special achievements. Angelique Noble of Lawrenceville was elected Student Consultant to the Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS), and Julia Westbrook of Loganville received the statewide Member of the Year Award from GANS at its annual convention.
William Butler of Duluth, who served as class president, spoke on behalf of the students. He reflected on how Dr. Diane White, dean of the School of Health Sciences, had shared how the GGC program was built upon caring for and about “others, ourselves and the nursing profession.”
“In the beginning of our journey this sounded well outside of our reach,” Butler said. “However, as I stand here today, I can clearly see what she meant as the caring for and about has been developed, cultivated and manifested in all of us. It has been a privilege to be your president, your classmate and your friend. I know without a shadow of a doubt that each and every one of you will be great nurses because you truly care.”
Planned since Georgia Gwinnett’s inception, the nursing program was developed to help fill the local medical community’s growing need for baccalaureate-level nursing professionals. A game changer in nursing education, it is Georgia’s first concept-based nursing program.
The GGC nursing program is highly selective. Only up to 32 students are accepted into the program each fall and spring semester. Applicants must have completed their first two years of college and have an excellent academic record.
The college also has partnerships with several of the local community’s medical facilities, which provide outstanding clinical experiences for GGC students. This includes Gwinnett Medical Center, Eastside Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Public Health, DeKalb Medical Center, Georgia Head Start, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Gwinnett County Public Schools and Kaiser Permanente.