Pinning ceremonies springboard Radford graduates into healthcare careers

Leonita Cutright, instructor of nursing, was a surprise guest speaker for the SON Pinning and Awards ceremony and Founding Chair Ed Swanson (not pictured) addressed the DPT White Coat and Pinning Ceremony.

From the classroom to the clinic or hospital, 93 Radford University health care providers made their final transitions on May 6 at two 2016 Commencement events.

Twenty-six Doctoral candidates in Physical Therapy  (DPT) donned their white coats in the Muse Banquet room at the DPT White Coat and Pinning Ceremony to join their profession. At the School of Nursing (SON) Pinning and Awards Ceremony in the Bondurant Auditorium, 67 nurses were pinned and took the Nightingale Pledge to join their professional colleagues.

“It feels so, so good,” said Amanda Cross, winner of the Medical Facilities of the America DPT Student of the Year Award. “I am most proud. It is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

Cross, who was also DPT Student Association president, added to her academic and clinical work by leading an $1,800-fund raising drive to assure that the entire class and all of their guests could enjoy a full meal as part of the celebration.

“I was lucky to part of an amazing group who made an effort to make this special day even more so,” said Cross, who will step into a job as an out-patient physical therapist in Roanoke for Professional Therapies, Inc.

After donning her white coat and being hooded, Jaclyn Powell ’13, DPT ‘16 will begin work as an in-patient physical therapist in the acute care section of the LewisGale Medical Center in Salem. She will also make a research presentation June 2 in Boston at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 63rd Annual Meeting.

“I am fulfilling a lifetime dream. Since high school, I have known this is what I wanted to do,” said Powell. “At Radford, the professors have always been interested in my success and I look forward to extending that relationship as a colleague.”

At the School of Nursing (SON) Pinning and Awards Ceremony, Lindsey Jackson was named the Marcella J. Griggs Excellence in Geriatric Nursing award recipient. She echoed the sense of accomplishment.

"It is by far the hardest thing I have ever experienced," said Jackson, who will join the nursing staff at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. "I have made so many friends."

Jackson singled out SON classmate Stephanie Kaiser as "BFF." Kaiser’s Commencement weekend included being commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. She will report to Bremerton, Washington.

“It was hard work and a lot of it,” said Kaiser, who was pinned in her dress uniform and then switched to a commencement gown, adorned with a stethoscope and honors cords for Saturday’s ceremonies. “But we did it together!” 

  • The other SON award winners were:
  • Jada Dingess – Kitty Parker Smith Leadership Award
  • Tyler Pace – Janet Hardy Boettcher Nursing Excellence Award
  • Morgan Lineberry – Janet S. Mooney Excellence in Pediatrics Award
  • Allison Parkhurst – Mildred Hopkins RN Excellence in Nursing Award.

Leonita Cutright, instructor of nursing, was a surprise guest speaker for the ceremony. The retiring faculty member at Radford and career nurse was a special mentor to the Class of 2016.

She summed up the career transition the class members will be making, saying, “Nurses are the glue that binds the health care team together. You are now a most trusted person for patients and their families in a most vulnerable time. Your patients will trust that you will be there with them. That is empowering.”

May 10, 2016