USA College of Nursing Recognizes First LPN to BSN Students

Posted on May 24, 2024 by Kasey Minopoli
Kasey Minopoli

nursing students in white coat ceremony data-lightbox='featured'

Each semester, the College of Nursing hosts a white coat ceremony to recognize students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for their progress and transition into clinical rotations. History was made on May 7 when the college presented the first cohort of students in the LPN to BSN Pathway with their white coats.

The students recognized are Valerie Guillory-Bell, Bridget Jenkins, Alicia Lett, Fredriauna Lowe, Myka Matthews, Ashley Thomas and Lenear Whittaker-Sullivan.

Dr. Heather Hall, dean of the College of Nursing, shared an opening message congratulating the students for their accomplishments followed by a brief history of the college read by Dr. Leigh Minchew, associate dean for academic affairs and LPN-BSN program director. Dr. Emily Bentley, assistant dean for clinical affairs, announced each student by name as they crossed the staged area to receive their white coats from Dr. Kimberly Jordan, assistant professor of adult health nursing.

“I am honored to have led in the establishment of the LPN-BSN program for the USA College of Nursing,” Minchew shared. “During the White Coat Ceremony, I found myself full of pride while observing each student donning their white coat. It was a moment of reflection on the motivation and determination these students have had in pursuing their dream of becoming a future registered nurse.

“This first cohort of LPN-BSN students will hold a special place in our hearts as they have been instrumental in contributing to the history of the college while rewriting their personal stories to include overcoming obstacles during the pursuit of higher education.”

Surrounded by their family and guests, the students donned their white coats and were presented with a special pin featuring a lamp that represents a nurse’s dedication to the nursing profession.

As the evening’s guest speaker, Dr. Jo Ann Otts, associate professor of adult health nursing, encouraged the students with heartfelt thoughts about their  journeys and her own as a former licensed practical nurse. She described her unique path to receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing and eventually a Doctor of Nursing Practice much later in life than most. She has always had a vision for herself and refused to let social labels define her.

“I visualized myself wearing a nurse’s cap and a starched uniform. I wanted to be trusted and respected,” Otts said. “I wanted to help others. I wanted to provide for my daughter. I wanted to be a nurse.”

The LPN to BSN Pathway, launched in January, is designed to transition licensed practical and vocational nurses into registered nursing careers. The program was developed after the college received a $3.4 million, four-year grant focused on increasing the number of registered nurses in clinics and hospitals.

“We are so proud of this first cohort of LPN to BSN students and the clear vision they have for their futures,” Hall said. “This online program will allow us to help grow the number of registered nurses across the Gulf Coast and the United States.”

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