RSU Honors 57 Nursing Graduates During Pinning Ceremony May 12

  • Woman speaking
    Dr. Carla Lynch, professor and department head of Rogers State University’s Department of Health Sciences, welcomed the crowd and offered opening remarks at RSU’s annual Nursing Pinning Ceremony held Friday, May 12, at First Baptist Church in Claremore. This was the 40th pinning ceremony since the introduction of the nursing program at RSU.


Rogers State University honored its 40th graduating class of nurses at the annual Nursing Pinning Ceremony held Friday, May 12, at First Baptist Church in Claremore.

Dr. Carla Lynch, professor and department head of RSU’s Department of Health Sciences, began the ceremony by welcoming the students, guests and members of the audience.

“It’s my delight to be the first to congratulate each of you,” Lynch said. “You are going to be the 40th graduating class of nurses from Rogers State University. I’m so proud of that history of producing nurses over the last four decades.

“Through countless hours of hard work and dedication, you’ve attained the goal you set out to accomplish. I’m sure each of you has your own story about what brought you here – what inspired you, those who encouraged you, those who may have discouraged you, but in the end, you did it. That’s why you’re sitting here today,” she continued. “You showed up time and time again, you took the exam, you executed the skill properly, you completed the simulation, you treated the patients with kindness and dignity. Hold this close to your heart and be ready to remind yourself of it and this journey you’ve undertaken when your hospital shift is long and your feet are aching.”

Lynch encouraged the graduates to be ready to pass along their own stories some day to others, especially future nurses, to encourage them to one day take up the mantle in the nursing profession.

Next to speak was special guest RSU Professor Emerita Linda Andrews, retired RSU nursing professor who was also the director of the nursing program for 20 years – for half of the program’s existence.

Many of Andrews’ comments recounted her early years as a nurse at Fitzsimons Army Hospital outside Denver, Colorado, during the Vietnam War, though she joked at one point that some thought she practiced with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War.

“Since I started in nursing more than 50 years ago, new technologies, medications and treatment strategies have evolved, but the core practice of nursing has not changed,” she said. “Nurses are indispensable in safeguarding public health. Nurses have a unifying ethos. In assessing a patient, nurses do not just consider test results. Through critical thinking, exemplified in the nursing process, nurses use their judgement to integrate objective data with subjective experiences of the patient’s biological, physical and behavioral needs. This ensures that every patient – from city hospital to community health center to state prison to summer camp – receives the best possible care, regardless of who they are and where they are.

“The Rogers State University nursing program has prepared you with the knowledge you need to be a registered nurse, but learning how to succeed as a nurse in a clinical setting is going to require additional skills,” she said. “Never be afraid to ask questions. Seek clarification if something doesn’t seem right. You have been very well educated – this is one of the finest nursing schools in the region. Never ignore your gut instincts. As a nurse, you will have so much to keep track of, but always remember that providing patients care takes priority over charting. Patients are the reason you became a nurse. Find a mentor, and whether you go back to school or not, always continue learning, and trust yourself, that confidence will come in time.”

Following Andrews’ remarks, assistant professor and undergraduate program coordinator Samantha Rhea recognized instructor Megan Bledsoe as the recipient of the Clinical Adjunct Teaching Award.

Honors graduates were then acknowledged by Department of Health Sciences Instructor Rebekah Inman, who recognized Emily Hankins as the 2023 Outstanding Graduate and Emily Thomas as the 2023 Distinguished Graduate.

BSN pins were then presented to graduating nurses by nursing instructor Shaylene Chatham, MSN, RN.

Those receiving their pins include Halley Aguila of Inola; Daniela Aguilar-Ramirez of Broken Arrow; Kayci Akin of Tulsa; Samantha Applegate of Pryor; Alyssa Armstrong of Broken Arrow; Julie Baalman of Owasso; Cherish Barry of Salina; Courtney Bean of Sperry; Hannah Bentley of Oologah; Brandi Bingham of Broken Arrow; Rachel Black of Bixby; Madison Bliss of Coweta; Kendra Brittain of Coweta; Emily Carson of Sand Springs; Amy Cochrane of Bartlesville; Kelsey Collins of Pryor; Holly Costa of Broken Arrow; Gabriella Decker of Tulsa; Justin Dorse of Claremore; Zoey Duty of Tulsa; Kelsi Fields of Catoosa; Brenda Garcia of Claremore; Caitlin Gilreath of Wagoner; Hailey Gunn of Mesquite, Texas; Shukuko Hancock of Claremore; Emily Hankins of Wagoner; Taylor Harness of Collinsville; and Hunter Hart of Oklahoma City.

Additional graduating nurses receiving their pins include Ashton House of Bartlesville; Morgan Jones of Verdigris; Hallie King of Sapulpa; Kalin Leaf of Pryor; Raechel Litterell of Claremore; Asia Maddox of Tulsa; Julie Morgan of Collinsville; Nadine Moss of Collinsville; Cheryl Norby of Locust Grove; Sydney Novar of Owasso; Amber Pace of Broken Arrow; Ashton Persons of Sand Springs; Marlene Ramkaran of Owasso; Katelyn Renfro of Tahlequah; Patricia Rickman of Claremore; Kathryn Roberts of Wagoner; Brittany Romo of Tulsa; Emily Siple of Claremore; Skylar Smith of Catoosa; Joseph Speer of Owasso; Barry Taylor of Skiatook; Emily Thomas of Broken Arrow; Darrell Thompson of Tulsa; Mary Trotnic of Sperry; Hailey Trujillo of Broken Arrow; Elizabeth Wellendorf of Tulsa; Courtney West of Owasso; Anecia Wilson of Catoosa; and Lyndsey Young of Claremore.

Following the presentation of pins, Health Sciences Instructor Michelle Bussell led the group in the recitation of the Florence Nightingale Pledge: “I solemnly pledge myself to practice my profession faithfully, do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standards of my profession, and to dedicate myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

During her closing remarks, Lynch congratulated the newly pinned nurses and wished them much success in their chosen profession.

For more information about Rogers State University’s nursing program, visit