Lawrence Technological University nursing grads pose for a photo at a May 4 pinning ceremony on campus. LTU recently honored its first graduating class of nursing students May 8. In total, 26 students graduated from the program.

Lawrence Technological University nursing grads pose for a photo at a May 4 pinning ceremony on campus. LTU recently honored its first graduating class of nursing students May 8. In total, 26 students graduated from the program.

Photo provided by Lawrence Technological University


LTU sees first ever graduating nursing class

‘They are entering the nursing profession with a very different educational experience’

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published May 28, 2021

 All Lawrence Tech nursing graduates have secured jobs after college, many of which came through the university’s partnership with Ascension Michigan.

All Lawrence Tech nursing graduates have secured jobs after college, many of which came through the university’s partnership with Ascension Michigan.

Photo provided by Lawrence Technological University

SOUTHFIELD — Twenty-six students at Lawrence Technological University made history May 8 as the first class of nursing students to graduate from the university.

LTU received state approval to open a nursing education program in 2016 and enrolled its first class in August 2017.

“We are so very proud of them,” said LTU Nursing Program Director Therese Jamison. “They are an amazing group of students, absolutely. We are so very proud and so very blessed that we have 26 graduating students this May that will actually get to go to commencements. This is a moment that they’ve dreamed about probably all their lives.”

Prior to graduation, the LTU nursing students took part in a pinning ceremony May 4. Jamison said the ceremony is unique to the nursing discipline and acts as a rite of passage from the students’ educational degree to the profession of nursing. The pin is given from nurse to nurse, which means only a registered nurse can present the pin to a graduating student.

Lawrence Tech also gave out six awards at the pinning ceremony: the Social Justice Warrior Award, the Academic Excellence Award, the Student Leadership Award, the National Daisy Award — given to a student and two faculty members — the Relationship Based Care Award and the Student Athlete Award.

After graduation, several students will accept roles at Ascension Michigan Hospitals in the emergency department, the intensive care unit and the bone marrow transplant system, as well as in the surgical nursing and mental health fields. All 26 graduates have already secured jobs.

“It means an awful lot to me,” said assistant professor of nursing Suzanne Cleere. “This is my first academic year, and I wanted to go to Lawrence Tech because of the nursing program itself. It’s exciting that we’ve had our first graduating class, and it’s even more exciting knowing that they are entering the nursing profession with a very different educational experience than any other graduate in our region, which just blows your mind.”

It’s no secret that these nursing students are stepping into a unique workforce due to COVID-19. During the course of the pandemic, health care workers have been among the most essential workers as they led the fight treating COVID-19 patients.

Due to the high levels of stress and the demanding hours, many hospital staff experience burnout. However, Jamison and Cleere are both confident that this nursing class is fully prepared for whatever comes next.

“They’ve been doing clinical coursework in hospitals for the last two years,” Cleere said. “They have experienced the pandemic in a way that some of the other nursing schools haven’t been able to because they haven’t been able to work in hospitals, but our students have had access. I think they know what they’re stepping into because they’ve lived it.”

Cleere said Lawrence Tech nursing students start nursing classes the first day of their freshman year, which is something she said other nursing programs don’t necessarily do. The focus during the freshman and sophomore years centers around teaching students about resilience and self-awareness.

“Burnout happens when you aren’t self-aware and when you put walls up and don’t allow compassion to flow through,” Cleere said. “Those first two years with these students was all about that side of what it means to be a caregiver.”

Jamison’s advice to students was to remember why they went into the profession of nursing in the first place and remember the feeling that serving others gives them. The relationships built with families and patients should be what motivates them to do their jobs.

“I think right now they’re in a very good place. They don’t want to ruin that energy,” Jamison said. “They said going into this that they knew they were going into a profession where they were going to face challenges and that they were looking at it more of a challenge instead of an obstacle. They all expressed that they’re ready.”