(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Vocational Nursing graduates from the Breckenridge and Sweetwater campuses were welcomed into the profession on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Twenty-five students walked the stage to receive their TSTC Vocational Nursing pins that signify their completion of the program. Instructors from the two campuses recognized the graduates.
During the ceremony at the Abilene Convention Center, students thanked family, friends and instructors for their support.
“These last few years, it has been perceived that I can’t accomplish anything by some, but I have worked my tail off and fell back several feet in the process,” Macee Taylor said. “I finally made my biggest step and graduated from the (Vocational Nursing) program, but I won’t stop here. My future is so incredibly bright. To everyone who supported me and didn’t give up on me, thank you.”
Haley McDonald had a special message for her classmates and instructors.
“Thank you to all of my new family members I have come to love through the past year — we made it,” she said. “Thank you to all the instructors that saw more potential in me than I saw in myself, pushing me to where I am today and not giving up on my stubborn self.”
Susan Greenwood, vice president and chief nursing officer at Hendrick Health, congratulated the students and reminded them that the journey does not end with a pinning ceremony.
“You still have responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to remain informed and educated,” she said. “What you have learned over the past 16 months will be obsolete in the future. Keep yourself up to date on the latest information.”
Greenwood said vocational nurses have a daily responsibility for their patients.
“Be that advocate and liaison for that patient,” she said. “Remember, you are that middle person between the physician and loved ones. You can be your patient’s voice when you have to. Your patient is the most important thing during the day or the night.”
Greenwood reminded the graduates of the reason they entered the profession.
“You are going to make a difference in a person’s life,” she said. “The patients are going to feel your compassion.”
Other students honored during the ceremony were Jacqualine Baez, Kaci E. Calsoncin, Desirae D. Davis, Melina M. Delao, Laura Diaz, Elizabeth A. Flores, Stacie J. Flores, Britin Garcia, Jennifer Graves, Bailee C. Hill, Rebecca Islas, Morgan McLaughlin, Sonora Medellin, Ruth Niyubuntu, Brandi Roberson, Jacqueline V. Rodriguez, Lyndsi Runge, Heather Smith, Elizabeth K. Travis, Virginia G. Velazquez Velazquez, Cheyann Wardell, Christina L. Young and John A. Young.
At the end of the ceremony, the graduates recited the Nightingale pledge. The pledge is named in honor of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, and is similar to the Hippocratic Oath in its focus on ethical patient care.
TSTC’s Vocational Nursing certificate program is also available at the Harlingen campus. Upon completion of the program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination, graduates are classified as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs).
According to onetonline.org, LVN jobs were forecast to increase 17% in Texas between 2020 and 2030. The median annual salary for LVNs in Texas is $48,520, the website showed.
TSTC also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.