Nursing Program

27 new nurses celebrate completion of their program at pinning ceremony

Isaac Aguilar (pictured above recieving his nursing pin from his mother) has a heart for helping people. After working as a certified nursing assistant and an emergency medical technician, he realized he wanted to be a nurse and enrolled in Clark’s well-respected nursing program.

As a nursing student, he completed a residency in a hospital intensive care unit and had another realization: “I really like connecting with families on their hardest day.”

No doubt Aguilar will be a stellar, dedicated nurse.

Aguilar and 26 fellow nursing students from Clark College’s 147th nursing cohort graduated on June 20. The following night, they gathered with their loved ones to celebrate their achievement during their pinning ceremony on June 21 in Gaiser Student Center. These graduates earned their associate of arts in Nursing DTA/MRP. Next, they will take their exam to become a Registered Nurse. Most of them shared their plans to continue their education and earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing, or BSN.

Benjamin Kramer, the student speaker, provided medical care in the U.S. Navy before he enrolled in Clark’s nursing program. He thanked his wife and their two daughters for their support while he focused on Clark’s intense, two-year program.

He told his fellow nurses, “A lot of the medicine we do is not glitzy, but it will pay dividends for our patients.”

Allie Bryant (above, right) received the Clinical Excellence Award, bestowed on a graduate who has shown exceptional clinical performance.

In accepting the award, she said, “I decided to become a nurse because of my grandfather. He would be so proud.”

Then it was time for the pinning ceremony. In turn, each graduate stood and was pinned by someone essential in their journey to becoming a nurse: parents, spouses, partners, siblings, children, and best friends. 

  • Allie Bryant was pinned by her father.
  • Isaac Aguilar was pinned by his mother.
  • Juliah Larson was pinned by her husband, while she held their baby.
  • Simon Kirpa was pinned by his wife.
  • Alicia Beach was pinned by her friend, Jennifer, a nurse.
  • Katy Hammond was pinned by her mother, and her husband and their children stood at the ready with congratulatory hugs.
  • Timothy Allen was pinned by his partner, Davin Kortt.
  • Kayla Brosius was pinned by her parents.
  • Alicia Bjur was pinned by her young daughter, accompanied by her husband and son.
Timothy Allen with his partner Davin Kortt.

After all 27 new nurses had been pinned, they stood and in unison, recited the nursing pledge, pledging to uphold certain ethics and standards within their profession. It is a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath for doctors. 

Nursing graduates already have applied for licensure in the state they want to work in. They have one final step to earn an “RN” after their name. They must pass a rigorous exam, the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. It is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Many of these nursing graduates shared their plans to continue their education. Many have transferred to Washington State University Vancouver and will begin working toward their bachelor’s degrees in the fall, thanks to a seamless transition between the two schools and their nursing programs. Others have chosen online programs. Many graduates are heading for a well-deserved vacation after completing Clark’s rigorous nursing program.

After the ceremony, nurses, their families, and supporters headed for the reception. Several families walked outside into the warm, sunny evening to take photos.

But still inside Gaiser Student Center, new nurse Vanessa Kuhn (above, left) posed for a photo with her family. Her young son was fidgety. And hungry. When were they going to eat, he asked? She reassured him that they could go to the reception and eat after they took a photo to remember this celebratory night.

A photo was taken, and nurse Vanessa Kuhn stepped toward her new career.

Megan’s Nursing Story

Megan Boucher (above) dreamed of being a nurse, but as the mom of three young boys, she stepped toward her dream gradually. First, Megan completed the phlebotomy certification at Clark. She worked as a phlebotomist for eight years before returning to Clark to complete her prerequisites for the nursing program.

Megan persevered through breast cancer treatment while completing her nursing degree and raising her children as a single mom. It’s been almost two years since her diagnosis, and she is responding very well to her treatment.

Now her sons are teenagers. Megan said, “My sons are my inspiration… Even when I want to give up, I know that they are watching and need their mom to be strong and not give up.”

Megan hopes that sharing her own story will encourage those going through difficult times to keep going.

At last, she’s reached her longtime goal: Registered Nurse, and has accepted her dream job as a hospice nurse at PeaceHealth’s Ray Hickey Hospice House.

She said, “My heart is with hospice nursing. I desire to provide emotional, physical, and spiritual care for my patients and their loved ones during the end-of-life process. It is an honor to be allowed to walk that road with them.”

Megan Boucher graduated winter term 2024, but she participated in the June 20, 2024, commencement ceremony.

History of Nursing at Clark

  • First nursing cohort to begin associate degree program: 1962
  • Number of total nursing graduates: 4,434
  • Number of nursing classes graduating: 147

Nursing Pledge

In full knowledge and understanding, I promise to care for the sick with all of the skill and understanding I possess, without regards to race, creed, color, politics, or social status, sparing no effort to preserve quality of life, alleviate suffering, and promote health. I will respect at all times the dignity and beliefs of the patients under my care, holding in confidence all personal information entrusted to me, and refraining from any action which may endanger life or health. I will endeavor to keep my professional knowledge and skills at the highest level and give loyal support and cooperation to all members of the health care team. I will do my utmost to honor the international code of ethics applied to nursing and uphold the integrity of the nurse. 

Learn more about Clark College’s nursing program here.

Photos: Clark College/Susan Parrish