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Nursing Graduates Set to Join the Fight Against COVID-19

College Hosts Curbside Pinning Ceremony

(December 11, 2020) – The fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the Triangle is getting another boost from Wake Tech Community College. Seventy-two graduates of Wake Tech’s Martha Mann Smith School of Nursing will be able to enter the workforce prior to taking their licensure exam to help support healthcare workers battling COVID-19. Wake Tech held a curbside pinning ceremony at the Perry Health Sciences Campus in Raleigh. Graduates will be ready to enter the workforce as early as Monday, December 14.

Ann Marie Milner, head of the Martha Mann School of Nursing at Wake Tech and a member of the NC Board of Nursing, said many of the new nurses could be some of the first to administer vaccines for the virus. “Our graduate nurses know exactly how to give injections, so we are happy to have them on the frontlines," Milner said.

At the drive-by pinning ceremony, students remained in their vehicles to observe social distancing rules. In addition to their pins, the graduates received a lamp and a copy of the Florence Nightingale pledge - symbols of their commitment to the nursing profession.

This is the second curbside nursing pinning held at Wake Tech this year. Sixty-four nursing students graduated in April and entered the workforce just a few days later.

With approximately 300 students and about 150 graduates each year, Wake Tech has one of the region’s largest nursing programs. Due to the pandemic, the NC Board of Nursing (NCBON) instituted “Graduate Registered Nurse” status, which enables nursing graduates to go straight to work while waiting to take the NCLEX. Testing during the pandemic is expected to take longer than usual due to a significant reduction in the number of testing sites open across the state and the number of students they are able to accommodate at one time. Graduates will need to apply for licensure through the NCBON, apply to take the NCLEX, and complete a criminal background check before they can work as Graduate Registered Nurses.

Ninety-eight percent of Wake Tech’s nursing graduates typically pass the NCLEX licensure exam on their first attempt and 98% of graduates are employed within six months.

 

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