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Lander’s Nursing Recognition Ceremony Honors 58 New Nurses

speaker Tyanna Porter
Tyanna Porter, of Union, was selected to give the class greetings for the Recognition Ceremony, honoring graduates of Lander’s School of Nursing. Photo by Deb Crenshaw-Nygro.

Tyanna Porter had a message for the School of Nursing graduates in Lander University’s Class of 2024: “All 58 of us were born to be nurses.”

Porter, who was selected to deliver the class greetings during Lander’s Nursing Recognition Ceremony, drew laughter and tears from the audience as she discussed the challenges and rewards the bachelor’s degree graduates had experienced.

From “balling our eyes out” after tests to moments of “nearly passing out” during clinical procedures, Porter said there were times “when the finish line seemed so close but so far away.”

As the end to their studies at Lander had arrived, Porter said the next hurdle in their professional careers – the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) -- is looming. “NCLEX somehow now feels like a massive hurricane. NCLEX is the arch-nemesis of every nursing student,” she said.

Yet, they will face the challenge with confidence. “We have been empowered through our leadership class to know what we believe in and what’s worth fighting for.”

As the class received their nursing pins, Porter called the Recognition Ceremony a day to celebrate accomplishment, along with hard work and dedication. “All of the long nights and tears have paid off. Pinning is a day of joy and peace that I have within myself to know that I can do whatever I put my mind to.”

Among the Class of 2024 are nine students who are the first graduates of the Self Regional Scholars Program, a partnership between Lander and Self Regional Healthcare to educate nurses for the 21st century. Not only is the scholarship program benefiting students, but nearly 40 percent of Lander’s 2024 nursing graduates have accepted jobs with Self.

The School of Nursing also honored its students’ academic and leadership accomplishments with awards, including:

  • Faculty Award of Excellence: Anna-Marie Bright, of Easley.
  • Nursing Athletic Award: Rylee Omahen, of Alpine, California.
  • Barbara T. Freese Scholarly Development Award: Hanna Lazenby, of Spartanburg.
  • Clinical Excellence Award: Carlee Stockman, of Greenwood.
  • Neuman Award: Casey Hunt, of Greenville.
  • Professional Nursing Award: Caylee Bishop, of Greenville.
  • Prelicensure Nursing Discipline Award: Mary Moosbrugger, of Irmo.
  • Professional Development Award: Cassidi Bradshaw, of Honea Path.
  • RN-BSN Discipline Award: Catia Magalhaes Billings, of Greenwood.
  • Nursing Leadership Award (Self Regional Healthcare): Tyanna Porter, of Union.
  • Mickey-McDowell Nursing Award: Trinity Hollister, of Belton.

“Better” is the word that Dr. Holisa Wharton, dean of the William Preston Turner Lander School of Nursing, used as she gave the graduates a final piece of advice. “Make the world better. Make the nursing profession better.”

She also called on them to praise their friends and colleagues when they made “a great save,” and encouraged them to “lift each other up. Make hospitals better. Make society healthier.”

And while their jobs will be to focus on their patients, Wharton told the graduates, “Consider the wider world around you in need of your help, in need of change, in need of transformation. You are educated, you are professionals, and I know you can do it.”