The nursing field just got a little bit bigger. Northeastern Junior College recognized 22 graduates at its Associate Degree Nursing Pinning Ceremony held Thursday evening in the Dorothy Corsberg Theatre.
“Job well done, I know your nursing experience was not typical due to the pandemic, but you all persevered. I am very proud of each one of you and look forward to watching you succeed in your nursing careers. You’re going to make a positive difference in the lives of your patients and your coworkers and your communities,” Julie Brower, director of the nursing program, told the graduates.
She also thanked the supporters of the graduates, the clinical sites and their staff for the extra time spent teaching and working with the graduates, and the nursing faculty at NJC.
Guest speaker this year was Jody Kind, director of client health services at Northeastern Colorado Health Department. She shared with the graduates “five pearls of wisdom,” things that make her excited about getting up in the morning and continue to love nursing.
First, she encouraged the graduates to “never forget why you’re here,” to remember what it was that gave them the drive to work so hard to get into nursing. Second, learn every day.
“Look at every experience and learn every day,” Kind said. “Embrace everything, from the best learning experience to the worst learning experience.”
Her third piece of advice was to practice humility.
“Don’t think you know everything and you can’t learn more. Learn from your patients, learn from your colleagues and learn from your leaders,” Kind told the graduates. “Errors occur, don’t hide from those errors, learn from them and have humility.”
Fourth, know your moral value and follow your moral compass. She encouraged the graduates to find their own moral compass, sharing that for her, her compass includes trust, honesty, courage, fairness, respect, and caring.
Lastly, she reminded the graduates to remember to take care of themselves.
“You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself,” Kind told the nurses. “In this profession, you will be asked to do a lot, the more you do the more you’ll be asked, the more you do the more you’ll be given, the more you do the more they expect. Eventually, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you’ll become something totally different, someone you don’t like and someone you don’t even recognize. Someone that really needs help. So, don’t ever get to that point, take care of yourself.”
Next, class president Kendra Moul spoke about her experience with her fellow classmates over the past two years, noting they experienced the true wrath of Murphy’s Law, “anything that could go wrong did. Between difficult classes and demanding schedules, COVID sweeps in and steals the show and obliterates everything in sight.”
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside some of the most talented and hardworking individuals I’ve ever known. We’ve been put through some of the most difficult situations, and we handled them with grit and determination,” Moul said.
She told her fellow graduates that she has full confidence they can handle anything thrown their way.
“Wherever we go, let us continue to be resilient, hardworking, kindhearted individuals as we care for those unable to care for themselves,” Moul told her classmates.
Following her remarks, Jan Bradenburg, associate professor of nursing, recognized the scholarship recipients who include: Katie Bass, Tarah Brent, Katlyn Dinsmore, Olga Escalera, Amber Finlayson, Sarah Figueroa, Lindsey Moos, Kendra Moul, Ashlee Napowsa, Kory Neugebauer, Marissa Ritter, Zeth Schoenfeld, Alyssa Sprague, Kristina Tatro, Jordan Theil, Yazmin Trevino, Courtney Trujillo, Molly Weatherill and Carissa Zion.
Later, two special awards were presented.
The Highest Academic Average Award, presented by the Sterling Rotary Club, went to Alyssa Sprague, who earned a 4.0 GPA while in the nursing program.
Kory Neugebauer was honored with the coveted Best Bedside Nurse Award, presented by the Sterling Lions Club. This award is very special as the recipient is chosen by the nursing faculty who work with the students in the clinical setting. This individual is awarded for demonstrating the best patient care and compassion while being trained as a nurse.
After the awards were handed out, it was time for the graduates to walk across the stage and receive their nursing pin. Each was pinned by one of their family members and after receiving their certificate, as they walked off stage they were gifted with a New Testament from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Gideons.
The 2021 nursing graduates include: Katie Bass (Keenesburg), Madison Blackwelder (Lodgepole, Neb.), Tarah Brent (Sterling), Katlyn Dinsmore (Yuma), Olga Escalera (Fort Morgan), Sarah Patricia Figueroa (Sterling), Amber Finlayson (Sterling), Lindsey Moos (Strasburg), Kendra Marie Moul (Arvada), Ashlee Napowsa (Denver), Koryn Ryan Neugebauer (Julesburg), Carissa Zion (Holyoke), Marissa Rae Ritter (Iliff), Cassie Schlueter (Sterling), Zeth Thomas Schoenfeld (Sterling), Weslley M. Zaslawsky Smith (Corumba De Goias, Brazil), Alyssa Sprague (Fleming), Kristina Tatro (Wallingford, Conn.), Jordan Leigh Theil (Cheyenne, Wyo.), Yazmin Trevino (Sterling), Courtney Trujillo (Pueblo West) and Molly Weatherill (Sterling).