News - 04/29/2014

MiraCosta College to Hold Pinning Ceremony for 22 Graduating Nurses

Nursing Pinning Ceremony 2013

Amanda Lay was a student at Virginia Tech when a senior at the school shot and killed 17 people and wounded 17 others in April 2007. Lay, who was unharmed, joined a group of friends visiting area hospitals, doing what they could to comfort families of the wounded.

“I was just sitting there in the waiting room with my friends and I was watching the nurses interacting with the families, so cool among the chaos, getting their work done, making everybody feel better, just being so professional while doing their jobs,” said Lay, who later moved to Oceanside. “It was really inspiring. I decided then that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a nurse and impact people on a positive basis every day.”

On May 15, Lay will join 21 other graduates of MiraCosta College’s Registered Nursing Program, in receiving their nursing pins during a ceremony at the Theatre on the Oceanside Campus. Once earning their pins, graduates are eligible to take the exhaustive National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the last stop before becoming a registered nurse.

Since the Registered Nursing Program was instituted at MiraCosta College some seven years ago, the NCLEX passing rate among students has hovered between 92 and 100 percent, with a cumulative 308 MiraCosta College graduates earning their registered nursing license.

“The pinning ceremony is a very meaningful, heartwarming event,” said Sandy Comstock, associate dean of MiraCosta College’s Nursing and Allied Health Program. “Students will tell their stories, and relatives come from all over and join them on stage, as well as the Board of Trustees and our administrative team. 

“It is a celebration of achievement.”

Graduates have travelled different paths to reach the stage at the MiraCosta College Theatre. Lay earned a bachelor of science degree in animal sciences from Virginia Tech in 2009, but moved to North County when her husband, Marine Capt. James Lay, was stationed at Camp Pendleton. She immediately enrolled in the MiraCosta College nursing program. 

“It’s a wonderful program with quality professors and absolutely amazing clinical instructors,” Lay said. “It is very demanding, but also very supportive.”

Graduates of the two-year, four-semester program enter a field with a promising future, as nurses make up the largest group of licensed health care professionals in the country. By 2020, there will be 1.2 million job openings for registered nurses, including 470,000 openings for RNs with associate degrees, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. And there will be 370,000 job openings for licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses – 134,000 of which will be for LPNs and LVNs with associate degrees.

Lay said she plans to enroll in a graduate nursing program while working part time as a nurse upon passing her licensure exam. 

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