USCA nursing students receive pins
Lisa Perdue took the first steps Thursday toward a second career.
Perdue is one more than 40 fall 2018 nursing graduates who received their pins from USC Aiken’s School of Nursing during a ceremony for family and friends in the Etherredge Center.
Perdue, who started in nursing in college before switching to business, had successful careers in banking and as pharmaceutical representative with territories in Georgia and the Carolinas before deciding to return to school to study nursing two and a half years ago.
“It took me years to get down this path, but when I really think about it, everything I’ve done has led me to nursing,” Perdue said Wednesday, taking a break from preparing for the upcoming National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, which students must pass to be certified.
In pharmaceutical sales, Perdue worked on the periphery of medicine, but she said she was “drawn to working with patients.”
“I sold oral diabetes drugs and really liked that, but with pharmaceutical drug companies, you can’t talk to the patients. You’re talking to the doctors and their staff,” she said.
Perdue started taking night classes in nursing while still working but decided to leave her job for full-time studies when she completed all her prerequisites and was accepted into USCA’s School of Nursing.
“It was very tough,” Perdue said of her decision. “I was in tears the first day at orientation.”
Thursday, Perdue’s tears turned to smiles and laughter as she welcomed guests to the pinning ceremony on behalf of her classmates.
“I know y’all are thinking I was sitting on the wrong side because I look like one of the instructors,” said Perdue, a nontraditional student, referring to seating arrangements on the stage with graduates on the left and nursing faculty on the right. “But I’m on the right side.”
Perdue works as an occupational health nurse intern for a defense contractor and will continue while she looks for a position at a local hospital to “really hone my skills,” she said, adding, “I’ll probably do both.”
With classes behind her and degree in hand, Perdue said she’s looking forward to “putting it all together.”
“It’s seeing a difference in working with patients and waiting for that ah-ha moment,” she said. “To be with folks at their lowest point, at their highest point and all the places in between, I think nurses can make a huge impact on their patients’ lives and on their families’ lives.”
Gigi Turner received the Spirit of Caring Award. Students in the graduating class chose the recipient who has “consistently displayed compassionate and caring behaviors to both patients and fellow classmates.” Alice Thompson received the Generic BSN Student Award.
Dr. Joyce Pompey received the Lamp of Learning Award. The award, chosen by the graduating class, is given to a faculty member who “has demonstrated superior teaching skills and made a lasting impression” on students’ career development.
USCA’s fall 2018 School of Nursing graduates are Alaa Ajlani, Brittany Berry, Shannon Byers, Amanda Carrier, Gabriela Cepeda, Maribel Chua, Kenneth Clark, Elizabeth Congdon, Jessica Crawford, Carlee Creech, Tanisha Curtis, Kayla Dantzler, Rickey DeLaigle, Greta Delgado, Emma DeVaun, Phuong Dung Thi Do, Porsha East, Julia Forster, Sara Gainey, Kaylyn George, Amber Gresham, Rachael Herring, Amanda Horton, Miranda Iezzi, Amber Laughinghouse, Christian Little, Amber Loman, Hannah Lowe, Jahna Martin Salvo, Miroslava Mendez, Alexis Moore, Anthony Morales, Adaeze Okeke, Olukemi Olorunniwo, Lisa Perdue, Evelyn Pittman, Laura Rudnick, Colby Shealy, Brianna Smith, Justina Sparks, Emily Teelon, Alice Thompson, Gigi Turner, Carrie Vomund, Jaleigha Williams and Tiffany Williams.