Tripler's USAGPAN graduation ceremony honors four
December 22, 2011
TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii -- The U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing celebrated four new graduates Dec. 9, here.
Maj. Darrell Evans, Capt. Kelly Gilkerson, Capt. Joseph Kellogg, and Capt. Steven McDonald received their diplomas in the TAMC Chapel.
The Tripler Phase 2 Anesthesia Program is tasked with the mission of training nurse anesthetists to provide anesthesia in both peacetime and wartime scenarios.
Upon completion of the 18-month program, the graduates earned a Master of Science in Nursing Anesthesia degree from Northeastern University School of Nursing in Boston, Mass., and are now qualified to take the certification examination for Nurse Anesthetists.
Lt. Col. Bradley West, certified registered nurse anesthetists and the USAGPAN Director, gave opening remarks at the ceremony.
He congratulated the class on their hard work and reiterated his constant advice to "treat patients as family."
"Strive to teach tomorrow what you have learned today," West added.
West said that the USAGPAN affiliated with Northeastern University is ranked no. 1 in the nation for 2011 according to U.S. News and World Report's list of "Best Graduate Nursing Anesthesia Programs."
The class was allowed to pick a guest speaker for their ceremony and they asked Matthew Bishop, CRNA and Chairperson for the Hawaii State Board of Nursing.
Bishop encouraged the graduates to continue learning and improving their skills.
"Don't be afraid to learn new skills," said Bishop. "Most importantly, honor your profession."
During the ceremony two special awards were presented.
The first presented was the Ira P. Gunn Distinguished Honor Graduate Award for Clinical Excellence. This award, which was presented to Gilkerson, is special to the hospital because Gunn, who made numerous contributions to the preservation and advancement of nursing and nurse anesthesia, established Masters of Science in Nursing graduate program at Tripler in 1967.
The second award presented was the Normalynn Garret Exceptional Adjunct Faculty Award. Melvin Hill, CRNA, TAMC, received this award.
"Mr. Hill is an experienced provider with a strong clinical background," said Kellogg. "He has a positive attitude and always tried to make everything a positive learning experience for all of us. Also, he allowed us to work independently so that our skills could flourish."
At the end of the ceremony, West introduced a new tradition to Tripler's anesthesia graduate program. He had a wooden staff engraved so that the graduating class leader can hand it off to the incoming class leader.
The ceremony was followed by a reception on the chapel lanai.