Averett University Honors First Graduates of Master of Science in Nursing Program at Inaugural FNP Pinning Ceremony

Posted on December 10th, 2021 by Matt Bell

Averett University marked another first this morning at its inaugural Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Pinning Ceremony. The event honored the School of Nursing’s first Master of Science in nursing graduates.

Four graduates completed two years of academic and clinical requirements to be pinned as an FNP, moving into the advanced practice realm of nursing.

FNPs can serve as the primary health care provider for patients. The FNP status empowers nursing professionals to take on more responsibility and do their job with greater autonomy, handling everything from performing examinations to formulating diagnoses to writing prescriptions.

“The nursing profession occupies a cornerstone position in health care, and we anticipate impressive contributions from these graduates that will add to our professional legacy,” said Dr. Teresa Beach, associate professor and interim Dean of Averett’s School of Nursing.

Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks reminded graduates of the University’s commitment to helping students do their part to care for the world, something these students are doing already, she said.

“You embody this mission already, haven chosen this calling as a career to help those in need and when they need it the very most,” Franks said.

Assistant Professor and Simulation Coordinator Dr. Karen Oaks – an FNP, herself – shared just how vital Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have become in patient care. More than one billion Americans of all ages and in all health care settings received care this past year from an NP. Of 325,000 NPs nationwide, almost 70% of them are FNPs, providing general, family-focused care.

“Nurse practitioners bridge the gap to meet patient needs,” she said. “You will listen to your patients, and remember that every patient is unique…You are part of an interdisciplinary team to provide all their needs.”

Clare Doss ’17, Sherri Eagle ’15 and Abigail McGinnis received pins today that represent the University and the nursing profession. They also participated in the ceremonial blessing of the hands with University Chaplain Rev. Skyler Daniel, a tradition that serves as a reminder that the human touch is a crucial part of health care and honors the spiritual aspects found in health professions. A fourth graduate of the cohort, Angela Hubble, was unable to attend the ceremony held at Averett’s Riverview Campus, which houses the School of Nursing.

McGinnis, a registered nurse for 16 years, was awarded for achieving the highest GPA in the program. A labor and delivery nurse at Novant Health of Rowan County, she is also a wife and a mom of two, and was touched by the personal and intimate ceremony.

“Today was a blessing we were privileged to have, especially alongside my classmates and our families,” McGinnis said. “It’s really special and meaningful to have this small ceremony that was just ours, in addition to the larger graduation. We feel like trailblazers by being the inaugural class.”

And Averett trailblazers they are. These graduates are no strangers to being the first.

Averett announced its addition of graduate level nursing programs in 2019, and the inaugural class of MSN students began in January 2020, just before the beginning of COVID-19 in the United States. These nursing graduates were also part of the University’s first white coat ceremony in May, in which MSN students were presented their white coats to signify entering into their clinical experience.

“This program was a great option for me,” said McGinnis. “From the very beginning, Dr. Franks came and welcomed us, she had us over to her home for dinner.”

The Rockwell, N.C. resident continued. “It is small, and people know your name. Even though I’m so far away, this has been my family.”

McGinnis has a passion for women’s health and plans to continue working at Novant Health. Her classmates have interests in mental health, family practice and working in a health professional shortage area.

Averett’s School of Nursing’s offerings include a four-year traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and the MSN program with a focus in two key areas – Family Nurse Practitioner and Emergency Nurse Practitioner. The University also recently launched an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in Norfolk, Va.

Click here for more information on Averett’s nursing programs.