Seventy Georgia State University bachelor of science nursing students received their nursing pins in two carefully planned and executed in-person, socially distanced ceremonies held on a day special to all nurses, National Registered Nurses’ Day. The faculty and graduating students celebrated the students’ accomplishments and transition into the nursing profession after completing one of the most challenging years in recent history.
“This semester, the ceremonies are very special for a number of reasons as we are hopefully emerging from the restrictive grips of the Covid-19 pandemic, and May 6 is National Nurses’ Day,” said Kenya Kirkendoll, clinical associate professor of nursing and ceremony organizer. “What better reasons than to celebrate and honor the hard work of the next generation of Georgia State University professional registered nurses.”
Dr. Joan Cranford, assistant dean of nursing, gave the keynote address at both ceremonies and encouraged students to keep the passion for helping people in a challenging healthcare environment. She was honored for her years of tireless service to the School of Nursing students, faculty and staff. Dr. Cranford retired from the university on June 1.
During the ceremony, another retiring nursing faculty member, Dr. Sarah Killian, received the 2021 Dr. Joan Cranford Clinical Excellence Award for her service and innovation in teaching adult health clinical.
Two representatives from area hospitals, Tricia Spada, a PICU nurse case manager at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite and life skills facilitator for the nursing program, and Diana Nguyen, a 2019 School of Nursing alumna and a registered nurse in the Northside Hospital neuroscience unit, led students in the nursing pledge. The School of Nursing maintains strong connections with area hospitals and health care facilities as clinical partners. The partnerships allow students to take required hands-on practice and give hospitals and healthcare organizations the first opportunity to meet students who are potential new employees.
A summer pinning ceremony will be held to celebrate the 2021 summer graduates.