Galen College of Nursing in Hazard celebrates second graduating class

The Hazard Galen College of Nursing program celebrated the journey of 13 new graduates on Jan. 11. The group was the second class to graduate from the school’s Hazard campus.

On Jan. 11, Galen College of Nursing celebrated the program’s second commencement of graduating students from the Hazard campus. The ceremony, held at the Hal Rogers Center (the Forum), honored 13 graduates and the people who helped them along the way. 

The second graduating class of Galen’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program included: Stephanie Adams; Tara Bailey; Billie Banks; David Barnett; Johna Browning; Cody Campbell; Katie Craft; Elizabeth Jones; Ashley Slone; Joshua Shepherd; Leslie Smith; Tia Wells; and Makayla Wooton. 

“We’re proud of the accomplishments of these graduates,” said Kelly Ramey, Galen’s associate program director for the Hazard campus. 

Galen College of Nursing offers two programs at the campus. One is a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). The other is a 15-18 month bridge program for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to continue their education in pursuit of their associate degree and subsequently their RN. The inaugural class for the Hazard campus started in March 2017, and Galen is already looking forward to the next graduating classes, as students from the two-year ADN program begin to complete their program.

Tara Bailey, one of the graduates and the valedictorian of the current graduating class, said she would not have made it through the program without the support and encouragement of her family, friends, classmates and her faith. 

“The real reason I’m here, first and foremost, is God and the prayer cloth I kept tucked into my shirt along the way,” said Bailey. “I’m here because of the faculty and staff at Galen that helped us to learn and challenged us along the way. I’m here because of those that helped pray me through it; my family, friends and coworkers.

“We’ve learned so much and come so far,” Bailey said, stating that her classmates are like family now. 

Ramey continued, stating that the students’ families and friends were also a major part of the successful journey. “Their family and friends have experienced the trials, the tribulations and the tears from nursing school,” Ramey said.

One of the guest speakers for the event, Galen’s Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development Dara Lanman, spoke to the graduates about what an accomplishment this is for them, their loved ones and the community.

“According to the Kentucky Board of Nursing, between July 2017 and June 2018 only 1,677 people earned their associate’s degree in the state of Kentucky,” said Lanman. “1,677 – that’s it.

“You are part of this very small, elite group of people who did what was necessary to complete this dream,” Lanman said to the students. 

Another speaker for the evening, Audria Denker, Galen’s executive vice president of prelicensure nursing, agreed, explaining the amount of work, sacrifice and effort the program takes. “Completing this program is such an accomplishment. Being a nurse is no easy task,” said Denker. 

“Other than the year after 9/11, nurses have been named the most trusted profession in the country,” said Denker. That year after, she explained, police and firemen were named it. These graduates, Denker said, are truly joining one of the best professions in the world.

“I am confident that the qualities and characteristics that this group possesses can lead them to great things,” said Lanman. 

Also, a few awards were given out during the event. The Emerging Leader Award was given to Joshua Shepherd. The Human Touch Award was received by David Barnett. Tara Bailey was awarded the honor of being Valedictorian of her class. The ceremony also consisted of the Nursing Pledge, which was recited during the Ceremony of Lights, and the graduates receiving their nursing pins, a 1,000-year old symbol of service to others.

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