Half-century of nursing continues with RN graduate

Half-century of nursing continues with RN graduate

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Steve Koehler
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By Steve Koehler

A family with more than a half century of registered nurses already to its credit added a third generation to its ranks Wednesday when Julie David received her RN pin from Ozarks Technical Community College Wednesday night.

David, of Walnut Grove, was pinned by her grandmother, Jeannie David, who is still an active nurse after 55 years. David’s mother became a registered nurse last year.

“It meant everything for my grandmother to be here. It was inspirational to follow in her footsteps,” said Julie David, who has accepted a job a school nurse for the Willard School District.

David was one of 24 in the first class of RNs to graduate from the College’s Associate of Science in Nursing program. The group received their pins in a ceremony at the Gillioz Theater before an audience of more than 200 family members and friends.

Jeannie David was overjoyed by the chance to pin her granddaughter.

“I was very excited,” she said after the ceremony.

Dr. Hal Higdon, president of OTC, said the ceremony marked a historic moment for the graduates and the College.

“Tonight, we took 24 people and doubled their earning potential from what it was yesterday. Think of what that means to a family. It will change the standard of living for their family,” Higdon said.

“For the life of the college, this is a major step that we now have an RN program. It’s a small program now, but it’s going to grow and as it grows, it can only help the community.”

Sherry Taylor, the program’s director, said she was excited to see the first class graduate.

“I’m very proud of them. They are an exceptional group of students,” she said.

Tabitha Caye Burton, one of the graduates who spoke at the service, said: “The journey has been an experience we will never forget.”

Taylor said that the class size will expand to 30 in the fall because of the high demand for the classes. She said the program is helping fill a need for skilled nurses in the region.

“We have a good, strong allied healthcare program. This is helping with the nursing shortage,” she said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College