Empowering lives for 90 years!

Berkeley College School of Health Studies Honors Practical Nurse Graduates at First In-Person Pinning Ceremony Since COVID-19 Pandemic Began

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Contact: Chanel Donaldson
Senior Associate, Media Relations
973-200-1048
Chanel-Donaldso@BerkeleyCollege.edu
BERKELEY COLLEGE SCHOOL OF HEALTH STUDIES HONORS PRACTICAL NURSE GRADUATES AT FIRST IN-PERSON PINNING CEREMONY SINCE COVID-19 PANDEMIC BEGAN
 
WPK Nurse Pinning

Photo Caption: Graduates of the Berkeley College School of Health Studies Practical Nurse program are photographed with nursing faculty during the first in-person pinning ceremony held by the college since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 15, 2021, at the Berkeley College Woodland Park, NJ campus. Pictured left to right: Professor Josephine Rodriguez, EdD, Nursing, Berkeley College School of Health Studies; Berkeley College Practical Nurse program graduates Shaneisha Richards of Irvington, NJ, Beverly Agyei of Orange, NJ, Rebecca Opara of Newark, NJ, and Rebecca Rivera of Flanders, NJ; Suzanne Mullings, PhD, Interim Chair, Nursing, Berkeley College School of Health Studies; Berkeley College Practical Nurse program graduate Najier Drakeford of Ridgefield Park, NJ; Professors Christopher de la Victoria and Patricia Gallagher, Nursing, Berkeley College School of Health Studies.

Twelve graduates of the Berkeley College School of Health Studies Practical Nurse program were honored during an in-person pinning ceremony held at Berkeley’s Woodland Park campus on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

With health and safety restrictions on gatherings still in effect, the event was limited to no more than 25 attendees, and followed policies for social distancing and face coverings. Five of the 12 students who completed the Practical Nurse program participated in the on-site ceremony. Each graduate who attended was permitted to bring one guest.

The occasion was the first in-person pinning ceremony held by the College since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In their opening remarks to the group of new nurses, faculty acknowledged the importance of the day.

“These graduates have successfully completed the Practical Nurse program while forging through the collateral effects of the global pandemic,” said Suzanne Mullings, PhD, RN, Interim Chair, Nursing, Berkeley College School of Health Studies. “We are here to recognize their achievements and all the hard work that these graduates have done to get here today.”

WPK Nurse Pinning

Photo Caption: (Left) Najier Drakeford of Ridgefield Park, NJ, graduate of the Practical Nurse program at the Berkeley College School of Health Studies, delivers remarks at the first pinning ceremony hosted by the College since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Woodland Park campus on April 15, 2021. (Right) Shaneisha Richards of Irvington, NJ, graduate of the Practical Nurse program at the Berkeley College School of Health Studies, receives her pin from Suzanne Mullings, PhD, Interim Chair, Nursing, and Professor Josephine Rodriguez, EdD, Nursing, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, during the first pinning ceremony hosted by the College since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Woodland Park campus on April 15, 2021.

Josephine Rodriguez, EdD, RN, Nursing Instructor, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, said, “During a pandemic, these Practical Nurse graduates took care of their families and their children, worked on the front lines, and studied hard. They are qualified and compassionate nurses.”

Despite the limited capacity of the gathering and a physical set-up that departs from pre-COVID traditions, there was no shortage of pride and excitement in the room. Graduates expressed a sense of gratitude for being able to complete their degrees and enter the healthcare field during such an uncertain time.

“Last year our world was flipped upside down. I was scared that graduation day would never come,” said Practical Nurse graduate Najier Drakeford of Ridgefield Park, NJ, who served as the student speaker. “Berkeley College made it possible for me to continue my education … Thank you so much for that.”

Like his fellow classmates, Drakeford worked on the frontlines during the pandemic as a Patient Care Technician in the cardiac COVID unit at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. “I’ve been taking care of COVID patients for the past year,” said Drakeford. “It’s been tricky, working all day then coming to school online.” Drakeford credits his determination and the support of Berkeley College faculty and fellow students for carrying him through a challenging year.

WPK Nurse Pinning

Photo Caption: Graduates of the Practical Nurse program at the Berkeley College School of Health Studies participate in the first pinning ceremony hosted by the College since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Woodland Park campus on April 15, 2021. The ceremony took place according to COVID-19 guidelines currently in place.

Now that the Practical Nurse coursework is complete, the next step is to take the NCLEX-PN licensing exam to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) in New Jersey. Berkeley College nursing faculty will work with graduates to help them prepare for the exam, after which they will also be eligible to continue their education at the Berkeley College School of Health Studies in the LPN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program.

“I have no doubt that these graduates will be exemplary healthcare professionals, serving their patients and the community with expertise and integrity, and will be an outstanding reflection of Berkeley College in general,” said Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, and Associate Provost. “I look forward to hopefully seeing all of the Practical Nurse graduates back for the LPN to B.S.N. program soon.”

Berkeley College celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2021. The theme commemorating this milestone is “Empowering Lives for 90 Years!” Visit the 90th Anniversary webpage for more information.

About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.

Berkeley College has campuses in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge, and Woodland Park, NJ, as well as in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, with more than 4,900 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for eight consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.

 

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Empowering lives for 90 years!