CLARKSTON, Ga.–A new graduating class of 39 Georgia State University Perimeter College students celebrated completion of their associate degree nursing program Dec. 11 with a traditional pinning and lamp-lighting ceremony in an auditorium packed full of family and friends.
“Three of the most important letters will be after your name today — J-O-B,” Dr. Peter Lyons, Perimeter College’s vice provost and dean, told the gathering in the Cole Auditorium at Georgia State’s Clarkston Campus. “Congratulations — this is fantastic,” he said. “From this day on, you need never be out of work. We don’t have enough nurses now … you’ll always be in demand.”
For the past two years, the students took blood pressure readings, drew blood, pulled all-nighters learning medical terms and assessed patient health during clinical rotations in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and mental health and medical/surgical techniques.
“We worked hard for this,” said Ashley Pinkston, a student who addressed the crowd. “Nursing changes you.”
Awards for various categories of clinical excellence, as well as overall awards for outstanding student, academic excellence and leadership, were presented. Recipients were:
Pediatrics – Kermela Lewis
Psychiatric and Mental Health – Ester Oki
Obstetrics/Gynecology and Medical/Surgery – Shannon South
Leadership – Asif Rawji
Overall Academic Award – Joy Rotz
Overall Outstanding Student – Carrie Hynson.
The Jessica Bryl Award, named in memory of a former nursing student, also was announced. It was presented to Shannon South, a student elected by her peers because she is “genuine, kind-hearted, supportive, caring, selfless, giving, pleasant and has a positive attitude and dedicated to helping others.”
Following the awards presentations, students participated in the lamp-lighting ceremony, a symbolic tradition in honor of modern nursing’s founder, Florence Nightingale.
“We look forward to seeing all these beautiful faces in nursing throughout the state of Georgia or wherever they choose to serve,” said Dr. Joan Cranford, Georgia State’s assistant dean and interim director of the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions.
The next step after graduation for the students will be taking the National Council Licensure Examination, a standardized exam that each state board of nursing uses to determine if a candidate is prepared for entry-level practice. In 2017, Perimeter College nursing students received one of the state’s highest passing rates, at 93.8 percent.