Nursing program a go at Tech

By Stephen Milligan - The Walton Tribune

Athens Technical College celebrated the official ribbon cuttin for its new satellite nursing program at the Monroe campus, which will partner with Piedmont Walton, Piedmont Newtwon and Piedmont Rockdale hospitals to train registered nurses. Photo credit: Stephen Milligan | The Walton Tribune

Program kicked off this summer, mirrors similar program at main campus

WALTON COUNTY, GA For Brennen Young, the brand new nursing program at Athens Technical College’s Monroe satellite campus was an opportunity to fulfill her grandmother’s legacy.

Young’s grandmother attended nursing school as a young woman but never finished her education due to marriage — at the time, a definitive end to schooling for a woman.

While Young’s grandmother, nicknamed Gamma in the family, went on to have a family, she never forgot her dream of nursing and hoped one day one of her children or grandchildren might follow her into the field and finish what she couldn’t.

Standing in front of a crowd extolling the virtues of Athens Tech’s Monroe nursing program, Young laughed and said she had never expected to be that person, but here she was.

“I can’t help but think my Gamma had something to do with this,” Young said.

Young fought through tears as she described caring for her grandmother in her last months as she struggled with ALS and how that experience inspired her to finally seek out the nursing career imagined by her grandmother.

And when Athens Tech opened its first satellite campus nursing program in Monroe, where Young now lived, it seemed like destiny.

“It’s has fueled my desire to be a nurse — a good nurse, an experienced nurse who advocated for her patients,” Young said. “I just finished my first semester here in the Monroe nursing program and it’s been great.”

Andrea Daniel, president of Athens Technical College, followed up Young’s tearful presentation with a simple comment.

“This is a bit part of why we do what we do,” Daniel said.

On Monday, Daniel, Young and the entire staff of Monroe’s nursing program gathered together with dignitaries from all over the area to celebrate the young nursing program, which opened in August, and hold an official ribbon cutting for the fledgling course.

“This is an exciting day for Athens Technical College,” Daniel said. “The Walton nursing program mirrors the Athens program and brings it to more students than ever.”

Unlike the Athens campus program, which partners with Piedmont Athens hospital, the Monroe campus is working with other parts of the Piedmont family, including the Piedmont Walton hospital nearby, as well as Piedmont Newton and Piedmont Rockdale.

All three hospitals have donated funds to help acquire the technology and tools needed for the
courses — which cost Athens Tech more than $1 million in renovations alone — and also help place students in positions for on-the-job learning.

“We are extremely grateful to Piedmont Walton, Piedmont Newton and Piedmont Rockdale for their help in starting this program,” Daniel said.

The new nursing program is set to accept 30 new students each fall semester and will provide them with labs and technology to hone their skills and learn the ins and outs of the field both on campus and in an actual hospital setting.

As Daniel and the various guests, instructors, students and other stakeholders in the program cut the ribbon to officially christen the new nursing facilities for the Monroe campus, she said it was a proud day for everyone involved and hoped to see the program grow and thrive in the years ahead.

“This is an important milestone in expanding this program in Walton County,” Daniel said

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