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Local Nurse Graduates ‘Pinned’ to Serve Norton Sound Region

On Dec. 12th, three nurse graduates were honored at UAF Northwest Campus for completing the nursing program and are set to serve Norton Sound region. Photo provided by Reba Lean, NSHC (2018).

The Norton Sound region has three new, local nurses who celebrated their graduation from nursing school last week in Nome. Richelle Horner, Mary Ruud, and Colette Topkok participated in a traditional pinning ceremony on Wednesday night at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks Northwest Campus.

According to a statement from Norton Sound Health Corporation, Wendy Smith, NSHC’s new nursing instructor, believes that occasion is what every nurse strives for. Smith said:

“It was not the day I actually walked and got the degree. It was the night I got to sit here with those that I laughed with, I cried with, got sick with and prayed with to get through the program — the night we were pinned.”

Through the University of Alaska–Anchorage nursing program, the three graduates have spent the last two years working together and studying the class material online and in Nome, completed similar assignments with various NSHC departments at the hospital, and took clinical exams in different parts of the state. Horner, Ruud, and Topkok make up the fourth cohort of locally trained nurses, through a partnership of UAA, UAF Northwest Campus and NSHC.

NSHC spokesperson Reba Lean says the nurse graduates will work for NSHC for the next few months as they prepare for their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which will officially make them registered nurses.

According to Lean, a fifth cohort of nursing students is set to begin the two-year program through UAF Northwest campus in January.

Image at top: On Dec. 12, three nurse graduates were honored at UAF Northwest Campus for completing the nursing program; they are set to serve Norton Sound region. Photo provided by Reba Lean, NSHC (2018).

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