Area nurses and nursing educators were honored Tuesday morning as Brenau University’s first class of Masters in the Art of Nursing.
Eight people with widely varying career experiences spoke to an audience at the Featherbone Communiversity, which houses the Brenau Department of Nursing, among other organizations, on Chestnut Street in Gainesville.
“We are here about care and heroism and people who make a difference,” said Gus Whalen of the Warren Featherbone Foundation.
A Masters in the Art of Nursing committee selected the nurses: Michael Beasley and Debbie Callahan of Northeast Georgia Health System; Gail Adam and Penny Robertson of Lanier Technical College; Jeanine Mundy Jackson and Helen Rabon of The Longstreet Clinic; and Sharon Chalmers and Betsy Ross of Brenau University.
The program got started after a conversation last summer between Whalen, the Communiversity’s founder, and Keeta P. Wilborn, Brenau University’s Department of Nursing chairwoman.
The idea formed to recognize nurses who “exhibited excellence in their profession to come and talk to us about what it is that they do and how they’re able to maintain their practice,” Wilborn said.
Whalen spoke to that point Tuesday morning.
“We want to affirm these people today,” he said. “... And we want to learn from them. How do they do what they do? What’s the magic? Nobody has really studied it that much. We observe it, but today we will learn it.”
Whalen said the nurses recognition also serves to encourage others to enter the profession.
“Is there a more honorable profession than nursing? ... I can’t think of one,” Whalen said. “In this moment, we will now learn from people who are sharing an extraordinary gift with us, with our community and with the future.”
Ed Schrader, Brenau’s president, said, “We recognize today that our lives are enriched by the fact that you have dedicated yourself to helping others.”
He also talked about growth in Brenau’s nursing department, which will soon become the College of Nursing.
“It’s going to be better. We’re going to have more reach and scope,” he said. “Our group of nursing educators are central to the future and vision of Brenau University.”