HAZLETON, Pa. — Graduates of Penn State Hazleton’s practical nursing program marked the successful completion of the program during a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 19, in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium in the Physical Education Building. Twenty-one students completed the requirements to earn a certificate in practical nursing and will be eligible to test for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
The class began its studies in July 2016 for the 18-month program offered in the evening and on weekends in the classroom and laboratory in the Slusser/Bayzick Building. Students took classes at Penn State Hazleton and attended clinical studies at area partner facilities.
Chancellor Gary M. Lawler presided over the ceremony along with Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth J. Wright and Practical Nursing Program Coordinator Andrea C. Shook.
Guest speaker for the event was Michele Roberts, vice president of patient care services at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton.
A nurse for more than 20 years with the majority of her experience in surgical services, Roberts began as a staff registered nurse and advanced into progressive leadership positions throughout her career.
She earned an associate in science in business degree from Camden County Community College, a bachelor of science in nursing degree from the College of New Jersey, and a master of science in nursing degree from Drexel University. Roberts also holds a specialty operating room nursing certification, CNOR.
In September 2012, Roberts became the director of surgical services at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton and was promoted to administrator of nursing services in October 2015. She was then appointed vice president of patient care services in June 2017.
During the ceremony, graduates received their certificates and pins to signify successful completion of the program.
Graduates and their hometowns include
Isadelys E. Cepeda, Hazleton; Brianna L. Cognetti, Scranton; Ana G. Correa, Beaver Meadows; Ashley E. Currier, Freeland; Jaime L. Dado, Nuangola; Deunizel S. De La Rosa, West Hazleton; April A. Gerhard, Weatherly; Valerie Hierro, Hazleton; Wendy M. Holguin, Hazleton; Jenney L. Lempfert, Gilberton; Tonya M. Marcinowski, Bloomsburg; Michele L. Mascioli, Nanticoke; Edwina V. Matuszkiewicz, Sheppton; Raelynn M. McCafferty, Scranton; Rosemarie M. Morales, Albrightsville; Rebecca L. Panetta-Castellino, Sugar Notch; Alyssa T. Rhyder, Albrightsville; Judy Rodriguez, Hazleton; Angela M. Scott, Bloomsburg; Gabrielle K. Wiest, Gordon; and Christina Zver, Tamaqua.
Several members of the graduating class also earned special recognition with an award. The awards and winners included:
-- Academic Achievement, which is presented to the student earning the highest overall grade-point average. Instructor in practical nursing Denise Kelly presented this award to Raelynn M. McCafferty.
-- Excellence in Clinical Practice, an award presented to the nursing student who best displays a high regard for clinical care and clinical aptitude. Instructor in practical nursing Laura Jones presented this award to Wendy M. Holguin.
-- Award for Leadership and Professionalism, which recognizes outstanding leadership and professionalism during the nursing education process. Instructor in practical nursing Joann Famalette presented this award to Edwina V. Matuszkiewicz.
-- Most Compassionate, an award presented to the student who displays exceptional emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy for others. Instructor in practical nursing Lori Reiner presented this award to Ana G. Correa.
-- Community Service, which is presented to the student who displays the initiative to reach out to those in need within the community. Instructor in practical nursing Andrea McAloose presented this award to Jaime L. Dado.
-- Spirit of Nursing Award, which recognizes the student who shows excitement, motivation and enthusiasm toward the nursing profession. Instructor in practical nursing Roxanne Downs presented this award to Judy Rodriguez.