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Master nurses honored, share career highlights at ceremony
Honorees say it is important to listen to each patient
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Anga-Lee Tipton, one of seven nurses honored, answers a question while fellow nurse Rita Harding looks on. - photo by J. Bryan Stiles

Master Nurses

Anga-Lee Tipton
What inspired nursing: Tipton said she wanted to be a nurse since she was 15 years old, “I was either going to be a nurse or a lawyer and I ended up being a nurse.”
Residence: Gainesville
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Brenau University
Occupation: Manager of The Longstreet Clinic’s House Calls Program
On master honor: “I’m very excited and very humbled to be recognized by my peers ... because I love what I do.”.500

Amanda White
What inspired nursing: “Nursing is a trait. This is in me, this is in my heart.”
Residence: Gainesville
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Brenau University, currently on Family Nurse Practitioner track for master’s degree at Brenau University
Occupation: Registered nurse at Northeast Georgia Medical Center
On master honor: “I have a hard time saying I’m a master nurse. Being a nurse is just in my heart.”

Lesley Holcomb
What inspired nursing: Holcomb said she was inspired by watching emergency room nurses work while she worked as a medical secretary. “They were just so strong and powerful and they saved people’s lives every single day they came to work.”
Residence: Suwanee
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University, master’s degree from St. Louis University
Occupation: Nursing Performance Improvement Coordinator at Northeast Georgia Medical Center
On master honor: “Very honored to receive it.”

Barry Cape
What inspired nursing: Cape’s first experience with nursing was at the age of 14 when he spent the summer caring for his parent’s best friend who had late-stage cancer.
Residence: Gainesville
Education: Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Brenau University
Occupation: Patient Care Coordinator in emergency department at Northeast Georgia Medical Center
On master honor: “You don’t think about it, it’s just our everyday jobs. ... We don’t do it for awards.”

Rita Harding
What inspired nursing: Originally planned on becoming a secretary but after comforting her sick grandmother she realized nursing was her calling.
Residence: Cornelia
Education: Diploma graduate nurse
Occupation: Registered at The Guest House
On master honor: “Very honored to be included in this prestigious group of nurses.”

Lorena Floyd
What inspired nursing: The Cherry Ames book series, in which the main character has adventures while practicing nursing. “The series not only inspired me to enter the profession, but also influenced my entire nursing career by raising awareness of the career options in nursing.”
Residence: Gainesville
Education: Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, master’s degrees in management from Troy University and applied gerontology from Brenau University
Occupation: Parish nurse at Gainesville First United Methodist Church
On master honor: “I am truly honored to be recognized as a master nurse. My own career has been influenced by nurses who I consider master nurses and recognize the impact they have had on my professional development and my career.”

Dr. Keeta Wilborn
What inspired nursing: “I loved science and I actually went into nursing just because I loved the science courses.”
Residence: Lawrenceville
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Alabama in Birmingham, Ph.D. in nursing from Georgia State University
Occupation: Associate dean of College of Health and Science, director of School of Nursing at Brenau University
On master honor: Wilborn was a surprise recipient. “I was absolutely shocked and very surprised. I had no idea.”

Across generations and disciplines, nurses share a common bond — the desire to help others.

The bond was evident at Brenau University’s East Campus at Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville on Thursday morning.

The third annual Masters in the Art of Nursing ceremony provided nursing professionals in the community with an opportunity to honor those who demonstrate the characteristics of a master nurse.

The program is a collaborative effort of Brenau University with The Longstreet Clinic, Northeast Georgia Health System and the Warren Featherbone Foundation.

Seven master nurses were honored and each took a few minutes to speak to their peers, nursing students and high school students from The Featherbone Communiversity Academy.

The nurses shared the highlights of their careers and the moments that made them into master nurses.

Lorena Floyd said she believes that each step in her career brought her to her current role as parish nurse for the First United Methodist Church in Gainesville.

She recalled one part-time nursing job she held prior to her present role where she cared for the feet of elderly patients at senior centers.

“It was a rewarding experience. With a foot in my hands I listened to stories, concerns... it was a beautiful type of nursing,” Floyd said.

The nurses discussed how important listening to patients is for their care. Knowing what the patient is going through allows nurses to treat the patient holistically, taking their mental, physical and spiritual well-being into account.

“You have to use your senses. Figure out what is wrong first by listening. Everyone has got a story to tell. You just have to let them tell it,” Anga-Lee Tipton said.

All of the nurses followed unique paths in their careers and had stories to tell about their experiences.

The stories ranged from hilarious to heartbreaking but by sharing, the nurses exposed the humanity that can sometimes seem hidden in a clinical setting.

“We laugh a lot in the emergency room, sometimes inappropriately,” Barry Cape said, “But that’s the way we make it through the day. If we didn’t laugh, we’d be crying.”

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