CONGRATULATIONS to Our May 2019 Graduates!

Posted: May 6, 2019

The College of Nursing held its annual Pinning and Hooding Ceremonies on Friday, May 3, 2019.

Remarks from Garrett McKenna, class president:

Good morning, my name is Garrett McKenna and as class president, I would like to welcome family, friends and faculty to the University Of Kentucky College Of Nursing Pinning Ceremony for the 77th Baccalaureate class. It has been an honor to represent this incredible group of graduates. On behalf of my classmates, I would like to thank you all for supporting us through this four-year journey and celebrating with us today. There are more thank yous to come, but first we thank you for making this possible.

Right now, I need to brag on my classmates. Academically, we have scored, as a class, some of the highest HESI scores in the college’s history. The HESI is a nationally recognized exam that indicates preparedness for the NCLEX. As a group, we’ve studied hundreds (seems like thousands!) of hours and at times it has been rough, but it was worth it.

However, my favorite part about representing In addition, we’ve been busy outside the classroom.  There have been research projects and presentations at national conferences; others have been involved in the Student Nurses Association which benefits them professionally and all of us because they sell pretty cool pullovers.  Students have been involved in DanceBlue as well. DanceBlue is a year-long fundraiser that culminates into a 24-hour dance marathon that benefits the Kentucky childrens hospital hematology/oncology clinic. The money raised benefits the clinic, the families involved and pediatric cancer research. Since we started as freshmen, DanceBlue has raised over 7 million dollars  For The Kids.

 You can see that this group is going to make an incredible impact across the country wherever their future takes them and it has been an honor to getting to know everybody on this stage.

To my peers, we have come a long way over these four years. There were ups and downs, long nights and stressful days. However, we all made it together. As mentioned before, many thank you’s are in order and I want express thanks to some special people.

Thank you, Starbucks, for helping me incorporate an unthinkable amount of caffeine into my body at any given time. I could not have made it through sleepless nights without you.

Thank you, Willy T, for showing me that not only are you an incredible place to study, but that your wooden tables offer a surprisingly comfortable spot for power naps as well.

Thank you,Simulation Lab, for showing me that plastic manikins are patients too. Thank you also for showing me that Professor Kral has an endless array of impersonations, and that she has a potentially lucrative career in acting if she chooses to do so.

Thank you, Zodiac and other service dogs, for simply existing. From dropping toys on purpose in class, to letting my classmates and me pet you on days that you visted, you helped make this journey that much better and brighter.

Thank you, this deck of playing cards, for going unopened through my entire clinical career, because we had patients to take care of and had work to do.

At this time, I would also like to recognize my fellow class officers. These leaders of our class helped pave the way for an incredible experience . As I call your name, please stand, and remain standing until all officers are introduced. Please hold your applause until all officers’ names have been called:

Grace Wilt, vice president; Madison Mattingly, secretary; Caroline Holmes, treasurer; Gabrielle Boehman, UNAAC rep; Katherine Webb, 2nd career rep; and Kristopher Godding, MedVet rep.

Finally, it is my honor to introduce Dr. Janie Heath, Dean of the UK College of Nursing and Warwick Professor of Nursing. Please join me in welcoming Dean Heath. 


Remarks from Gabbie Innocent, student speaker:

Hello classmates, future coworkers, soon to be registered nurses! My name is Gabbie Innocent and I am happy to be the student speaker!  Nursing school has been a unique experience and I am glad we all struggled together and came out the other side better for it. We have some interesting personalities in this cohort to say the least, but the interplay of them all is what has kept us going. From being clueless about the timetable of vaccinations for children (#shameless plug to get your kids vaccinated!) in Fundamentals to making sure we put that leading zero on our first med math exams to even panicking about getting to off-campus clinical sites at 6:45 in the morning, we have seen each other through. Unsatisfactories, bad exam grades, and unconventional clinical assignments may have tried to keep us back, but us sitting here on this stage right now has proved we have what it takes. So, what does the future hold for us? From where I stand… nothing but greatness. Among us, some will return back to school, most will go to the bedside, but we will ALL make a difference in the lives of someone’s loved one.

Our time together has come to end and as we are about to embark on new journeys, I want to leave you all with a message. I believe we all have a major opportunity at our hands. We are in a unique situation that won’t come again. We are about to be *knocks on wood* new graduate registered nurses ready to soak up all we can in our new working environments. We can be the change we desire to see in our home units, in our hospitals, in our healthcare system. You know those little orange caps we put on every single port on every tube inserted to our patients? The idea stemmed from a new grad in a nurse residency program in an ICU in Pav A at UK Healthcare and now it is implemented in hospital wide policies. Our managers and other nurses take our perspectives seriously, so why not look for ways to enhance our organizations. We have fresh eyes; we haven’t been on the scene and around the block for very long to be set in certain ways of implementing care. Let show them we are nothing to play around with, after all we are graduates from THE UNIVERSITY of KENTUCKY!

So, I want to challenge you to give it all you got when you walk through those doors down the street or across the way. From right here in Lexington to the four corners of this country, WE will be the difference! We will stand up to the challenge, never back down from the task, and be an agent for change this system needs. Class of 2019, we’ve did it, we’ve done it, and we’ll do it again.

Thank you!