Rappahannock Community College Holds Combined Nurse Pinning and Commencement Ceremony

Rappahannock Community College (RCC) introduced 97 nurses to the community at Pinning and Commencement exercises on May 13 at Essex High School. The afternoon ceremony was the first in-person pinning and Commencement since 2019. Fifty-eight individuals earned an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (ADN) and 39 received the Practical Nursing Certificate (PN). ADN Class of 2022 graduate Brandy McCarty sang the National Anthem.

The nurse pinning ceremony is a symbolic welcoming of nurses by other nurses to the profession. Many students selected someone who inspired and encouraged them through their journey as their “pinners,” including family members and faculty who are nurses themselves. “This special group of graduates have worked very hard, endured pandemic learning changes, and are well prepared to join the profession of nursing,” said Ellen Koehler, Interim Dean of Health Sciences. “Collectively they are kind, smart, and eager to make their impact on our community. We could not be more proud of these graduates and see leaders emerging among many of them.”

Several students received awards. Kristy Ramirez and Carla Rhodes, received the Perseverance Award for ADN students, and Katrina Thomas and Imari Mitchell for PN. This award recognizes students who have demonstrated the highest level of perseverance in pursuit of their nursing degrees and showing courage to ignore the obvious wisdom of turning back.

The Preceptorship Award is given to students who are recognized as having excellent clinical performance during their final experience in the nursing program. Tara Russell and Ashleigh Metz received the Preceptorship Award for ADN students and Brielle Parr and Taylor Herrera for PN.

April Williams, Samantha Beltran, and Kiara Maddox, were awarded the Outstanding Clinical Achievement Award for ADN and Tanesha Redmond and Benita Johnson for PN. These students were selected by faculty as having demonstrated excellent clinical practices.

The Catherine Courtney Award is given in honor of Professor Emeritus Mrs. Catherine Courtney, the first nursing program faculty member who dedicated 32 years to teaching at RCC, and continues her commitment to RCC as a member of the Educational Foundation board. The award recognizes students who demonstrate all-around leadership and achievement in academic, clinical, and interpersonal excellence with patients, peers, and faculty. Winners are chosen by the nursing faculty. This year’s recipients are ADN students Morgan Buchanan and April Mallory.

Dr. Shannon Kennedy, president of RCC, conferred the degrees and presented the graduates to the audience. “Most of you started on this journey during COVID and had to practice vitals checks on family members rather than attending in-person labs,” said Kennedy. “But you are here today, showing that despite the pandemic, you have persevered. You can handle the challenges that life has thrown at you and demonstrated determination and resilience. You will be able to handle the challenges ahead. You are an inspiration!”