121 degrees awarded at Mercy/SBU nursing and health sciences graduation

During the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of Southwest Baptist University Winter Commencement Thursday, Dec. 12, at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, 121 students received nursing and health science degrees.

Jay Guffey, chief operating officer of Mercy Hospital Springfield, was the commencement speaker. Additionally, ASN graduate Wesley Skinner of Walnut Grove sang “A Pile of Crowns” and BSN graduate Sharie Nievar of Branson sang “Healing is in Your Hands.”

Degrees awarded include nine Master of Science in Nursing, 35 Bachelor of Science in Nursing and 75 Associate of Science in Nursing, an associate of applied science in emergency medical technology and an associate of science in health science.

Special awards were given to students in each program.

Awards for MSN students were given to:

• Cindi Aurentz of Springfield, MSN Leadership Award.

• Tedra Estis of Springfield, MSN Clinical Practicum Excellence Award.

Awards for BSN students were given to:

• Kelci Schaal of Billings, Mont., the Judy Mitchell Christian Walk Award. This award was established by the Capstone class of Spring 2000 as a tribute to Judy Mitchell, BSN Assistant Professor, who retired at the end of the ’99-’00 school year. The student honored exemplifies the Christian walk in both their personal and professional life.

• Stephanie Nimmo of Buffalo, the Eldridge Award. The D’Wayne and Venita Eldridge Highest BSN Academic Achievement award is given by Dr. Carole and Dr. Daryl Eldridge in honor of his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge are long-time faithful Southern Baptists who have taught and ministered in church for most of their adult lives. In their constant service to others, their emphasis on doing things right, and their steadfast love for God and people, they exemplify the spirit of the Mercy College of Nursing BSN Program. The student honored with this award has the highest institutional GPA in their graduating class.

• Jade Burges of Ash Grove, BSN Clinical Excellence Award. This award is given to a student who has demonstrated persistence, dedication and excellence in BSN clinical experiences. The student who receives this award has consistently performed excellently in his or her studies but has also shown a positive and loving spirit towards others.

• Sharie Nievar of Branson, BSN Leadership Award. The BSN Leadership Award is given to a student who has demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities throughout his or her time in the BSN program. The student who receives this award has been a leader in clinical settings and in the online classroom. Strengthening and demonstrating one’s leadership skills is a valued achievement of a BSN graduate.

Awards for ASN students were given to:

• Emily Landers of Appleton City (NUR 2124) and Kristin Smith of Willard (NUR 2135), highest academic recognition. Recognition is given for scholastic excellence to the student in each fourth semester nursing course with the highest grade point average of 3.5 or above.

• Candace Garner of Springfield (NUR 2124) and Mercedes DeFreece of Pittsburg (NUR 2135), recognition for clinical excellence. Recognition is given to the student in each fourth semester nursing course who best meets the clinical course objectives in an exemplary manner.

• Jamie Duncan of Urbana, Florence Nightingale Award. This monetary award is based on leadership, professional role model and self-directed learning. This award is voted on by the entire ASN faculty.

• Brittney Fleming of Springfield, Mary McFarland/Bathy Hatfield Memorial Scholarship. The monetary award is given as a scholarship to Southwest Baptist University based on GPA, commitment to furthering education, leadership ability and moral character.

• Jean Ann Rushing of Lebanon, J.F. Johnson ASN Academic Scholarship. College of Nursing incoming students with a GPA of 3.5 or above are invited to submit an application, letters of recommendation and an essay on “Why I am Choosing Nursing as a Career” to be considered for the full-ride scholarship from J.F. Johnson Educational Assistance funds. This scholarship covers tuition expenses, books and professional fees for the two year ASN program.

For more information about nursing and health science programs, including radiography, offered at the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences, contact Charlie Hungerford at (417) 820-3272 or chungerford@SBUniv.edu.

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