Thursday, April 14, 2016

Recognizing Exceptional Students: LETU's First Nursing Graduates

National Nurses Week is May 6-12, 2016. It is a time to acknowledge the many wonderful contributions nurses make to our society.

And it's especially appropriate that during Nurses Week this year, LETU will make history when our first nursing graduates walk the stage to receive their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees in Belcher Center on Saturday, May 7.

On Thursday, May 5, LETU will launch a new tradition when we hold our first ever pinning ceremony for our nursing graduates, Hannah Campbell of Ben Wheeler and Abbey May of Winnsboro. These young women are the first to receive their nursing pins and the first to represent LETU as they make their mark on society as caring, compassionate nurses.

Both young women are excellent candidates for our graduating class and both have already secured great jobs. It is encouraging to see that the quality of our nursing program is already recognized. They both will be working for Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler.

These young women are very different, but they both have a heart for nursing.

Hannah is described as mission minded. I'm told she has been on mission trips and feels her call may eventually lead her to fulltime mission work. She is an honors student who came to LETU four years ago and has come through our entire program. She was a nursing student before we had a program. She is focused on relational patient care. Her new role will be as part of a post-surgical unit where patients are taken when they get out of intensive care.

Abbey is currently doing her capstone in oncology. She is very connected to her community here in East Texas. She transferred in to LETU her junior year and is more focused on cutting edge medicine, with interests in trauma and emergency medicine. Her new job at TMF will be in neuro intensive care unit, working with patients who have had strokes, spinal cord injuries, back surgeries or traumatic brain injuries.

Our goal at LETU is to prepare nurses to be competent, but also compassionate and able to present the Gospel through their work, sometimes without a word.

While we can teach competence in technical skills, we can't teach nurses how to love people through difficult circumstances. We hope to bring that out in them as they develop throughout our program, and during this last semester, these women have gotten a dose of what it feels like to be a nurse.

Good nurses value the dignity and worth of every person. They think about how they can make their patients feel better or what they can do to help a family through a trying time. They exhibit an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

Nursing is a little personal for me, since my own daughter, Hannah, is a labor and delivery nurse in Tyler. Nurses are there for moments of happiness, sorrow, laughter, fear, joy and pain. They make a difference as they pursue their calling.