• 52°

Pinning ceremony links newest nurses, 50-year veteran

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton’s 2013-2014 Student of the Year has taken another step toward her goal of helping abused women and children, and she was welcomed on the path by someone who has walked it for more than 50 years.
After passing the Tennessee Board of Nursing exam to become a licensed practical nurse, Anna-Lisa Altland of Washington County has set her sights on becoming a registered nurse.
Altland credits learning about TCAT Elizabethton from a co-worker – who had graduated from the Practical Nursing Program – for the turn her life has taken.
“I applied, refreshed and studied for the Compass Test, and when Lori Clark, TCAT Elizabethton assistant student counselor, told me I had passed, I burst into tears and hugged her,” Altland said. “I could not believe I was finally on my way to fulfilling my dreams. I have really enjoyed being enrolled in the Practical Nursing Program and have an even more of a burning desire to further my education to become a Registered Nurse and work for my forensic degree.”
Altland was among 44 practical nursing students from TCAT Elizabethton who graduated April 21 during a pinning ceremony held in the Monarch Auditorium of Bristol Regional Medical Center. U.S. Rep. Phil Roe was the keynote speaker.
“My heart and soul is to work with abused women and children,” Altland said. “I know that I am here today because of who I am as a person but I also know that if I want to become a nurse, I need to prepare.”
The finalist in the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology “2014 Student of the Year” statewide competition added that, “In all honesty, I can say that the Tennessee College of Applied Technology has saved me from a life of poverty.”
While Altland is beginning her career, the graduates heard from a veteran of more than a half-century of nursing experience.
Lula Belle Street, a registered nurse and clinical instructor for TCAT Elizabethton, spoke at the pinning ceremony after the class presented her gifts in appreciation for her instruction at Hermitage Nursing Home and Sycamore Shoals Hospital.
“Be all that you can be, demonstrate dignity, compassion, competency, empathy and leadership skills,” she told the nurses.
“I love nursing,” she said, and encouraged nursing graduates in the 2014 class to have the same passion and be successful in their career.
Street, who has practiced nursing for 52-plus years, has not let her 73 years of age slow her down.
Street has conducted in-service training for employees in nursing homes in Carter, Washington and Unicoi Counties for the past 22 years. She has also taught health science classes in elementary schools, private homes and churches. In 1973, she was the designated school nurse for students in 20 schools. In 2001, she began teaching nursing classes at TCAT Elizabethton.