Alumni, former and current instructors and students attended an afternoon celebration of the Fairbury/Beatrice Practical Nursing graduating classes. The June 8, 2018, graduating class was honored at its pinning ceremony earlier in the afternoon. Belva DeJong Cassell, program director at that time, joined four members (Beverly (Knabe) Sporhase, Kay Dalton, Darlene (Rosenthal) Beran, and LaJeanne (Kugel) Haecker) of the March 1973 class on May 16 to reminisce and share what the nursing program was like at the beginning.
To qualify to enter the program, men or women had to be a U.S. citizen or have applied to become a citizen, be of good moral character, have personal qualifications of adaptability, pleasing personality, and an aptitude for nursing. Students had to be at least 17 years old, and an upper-age limit was approved on a case-by-case basis. A high school diploma was preferred, but if you were under 40, you must have completed at least the 10th grade of high school. Applicants over 40 had an eighth-grade completion requirement.
Upon completion of the program a Practical Nursing Certificate was granted. Graduates were eligible to take the Nebraska Licensing exam.
Jill Duis, former SCC Beatrice PN instructor, presented the history of the nursing program from its beginning at Fairbury Junior College to SCC in Beatrice. Her presentation took some steps into the future when Bob Morgan, Beatrice Campus Director, outlined the planned new home for the nursing department in a building designed for academic classes and laboratories for all the Beatrice programs. After a break, Jill brought the attendees back with activities to get them engaged in the afternoon program, “What Would Florence Do?” The three core values that Florence Nightingale demonstrated were authenticity, integrity and courage. Duis shared this quote of Nightingale: “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.”