HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College’s Department of Nursing Education (DNE) recognized around 80 graduates at the first of two pinning ceremonies for the class of 2023. Both the May and August ceremonies mark the beginning of careers for new nurses from the award-winning program.
“You chose the nursing profession at a time when you were never needed more,” said Deborah “Pepper” Hoover, chair of the program. “Your decision to enter this career required bravery, and we are so blessed that you selected Wallace State for your nursing education.
“The pandemic has reinforced the importance of nurses to the healthcare team in our country,” she added. “It is our pleasure to welcome this group to nursing now.”
Among the nearly 80 graduates, 10 are graduating with both an associate degree from Wallace State and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama as part of the UAB/WSCC Joint Enrollment program. One student, Payton Oden of Oneonta, was recognized by UAB as a Nightingale Award winner during the UAB Senior Recognition Ceremony last month.
Wallace State Nursing Nightingale awards were presented to Tres Betts of Warrior, Nathan Petersen of Eva and Hillary Taylor of Cullman.
Betts is known for being an energetic and enthusiastic student. One clinical instructor said he has a great attitude and is amazing with the patients. He’s eager to learn and quick learner.
“This graduate brings a smile to your face and has never met a volunteer assignment that he did not embrace,” Hoover said. “He has served his class as vice-president and always lends aide to the Department of Nursing.”
Petersen was noted for his kind and caring spirit. He is proud to have quit a financially lucrative career to go to nursing school full time and said he wants to be a nurse to be an example for his daughter.
“I could not give you anything but the highest recommendations,” one preceptor wrote. “He is a total package kind of student. He has intelligence which is easy to develop; he takes initiative and is effective in communication; finally, he has a natural intuition for leadership.
Taylor has served as her class president. She is described as a team player who exhibits a caring attitude. “She will be an asset to the nursing profession,” a WSCC faculty member wrote.
Other nominees for the Nightingale award were Kristy Burton of Gardendale, Tiffany Evans of Hayden, Krystal Fields of Oneonta, Donquarious Hudson of Demopolis, Jamella Ayanna King of Birmingham, Ashley Rouse of Warrior and Nicole Taylor of Arab.
Nursing graduates left the Traditions Bank Arena at Tom Drake Coliseum smiling and dancing down the aisle, many carrying signs showing the medical facilities where they will be working.
The next day, Hanceville resident Peter Howell of the August Nursing cohort received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Health Science.
The pinning ceremony for the August cohort will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3, in Traditions Bank Arena at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Wallace State’s Department of Nursing Education will begin offering some nursing classes at the Oneonta Academic Center this fall. The program offers a traditional option through which students can earn a practical nursing certificate after completing three semesters and an associated in applied science after completing the fifth semester. It also offers the UAB/WSCC Joint Enrollment option, allowing students to concurrently complete associate and bachelor’s degrees through Wallace State and UAB, respectively. Both the traditional and joint enrollment pathways have mobility options for certified health care professionals wishing to pursue a career in nursing.
Applications for Spring 2024 admission will be accepted July 1 through Oct. 1.
For more information about the Wallace State Nursing program, visit www.wallacestate.edu/nursing, call 256-352-8199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.