Aerial view of the Dowagiac campus

SMC graduates 23-member nursing class

12/16/2019 - 12pm
SMC’s December 2019 nursing graduates

Southwestern Michigan College Trustee Dr. Elaine Foster welcomed 23 new nurses to “America’s largest health-care profession. The nation’s 3.1 million nurses work in diverse settings and are front-line providers of health-care services.”

SMC recognized the 23 new nursing graduates Dec. 12 during its fall pinning ceremony in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus. These students received associate degrees in nursing (ADN), joining the ranks of 3,092 SMC nursing graduates.

Foster, who was Dean of the School of Nursing during 27 years at SMC, said, “Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12 percent by 2028 — much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including increased emphasis on preventive care, growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, and demand for health-care services from the baby boomer population as they live longer and more active lives.”

“By 2022,” Foster said, “there will be far more registered nurse jobs available than any other profession. With more than 500,000 RNs anticipated to retire by 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new RNs to avoid a nursing shortage. As a result of those demographic shifts, nurses will continue to practice under increased stress.

“As the health-care system is strained by an aging population, nurses will feel the weight of patient responsibility on their shoulders. I know that your faculty prepared you to deal with these aspects of your future practice. You must embrace and embark on your new journey of lifelong learning since it is critical in providing safe care to patients across the world.”

“I welcome you to the profession of nursing,” Foster said. “You’ve all sacrificed to reach this milestone in your life. You’ve spent endless hours studying, sitting in class, driving to clinicals — sometimes in very bad weather — and enduring sleepless nights. You’ve sacrificed time for family and friends to pursue your education and join one of the greatest professions out there. I also commend your families and friends for your accomplishments because it takes a village to educate a nurse.”

Graduates include: Brianna Belardinella of Granger, Kimberlie Boyer of Lawrence, Courtney Brisbois of Dowagiac, Ashley Charles of Cassopolis, Jenna Cox of Kalamazoo, Raegen Dent of Buchanan, Katharine Ertman of Schoolcraft, Derrick Goodrich of Cassopolis, Nicole Hill of Niles, Courtney Houser of Edwardsburg, Candace Kantorowski of South Bend, Chelsea Kasinger of Pullman, Sarah Mansell of Edwardsburg, Molly Marquart of Stevensville, Britney Mills of Stevensville, Taylor Myers of Dowagiac, Christine Owens of St. Joseph, Kristine Quintanilla of Niles, Meagan Ritchie of Edwardsburg, Ashley Schoetzow of Jones, Maricar Shonk of Bridgman, Layne Stinnett of Edwardsburg and Logan Williams of Elkhart.

Dean Dr. Melissa Kennedy of the School of Nursing and Health Services presented Lamps of Knowledge to Molly Marquart, Ashley Schoetzow and Maricar Shonk because of a three-way tie for the peer-selected Florence Nightingale Award, which embodies selflessness, compassion, thoughtfulness, team play, dependability, generosity and humility.

Faculty members Dr. Debra Green, Department Chair; Jodi Tidey, MSN, RN; Rona Goodrich, MSN, RN; Amber Villwock, MSN, RN; Lynda Pence, DNP; Stacey Dwyer, MSN, RN; Annette Nacci, MSN, RN; and Kristen Eden, MSN, RN, presented graduates with their certificates and pins.