TCAT practical nursing program spreading beyond Tennessee and United States

Published 9:44 pm Monday, August 29, 2016

Gugulethu Ndedla

Gugulethu Ndedla

News about the practical nursing program at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Elizabethton has reached South Africa, prompting a student from there to enroll.
Gugulethu Ndedla of Estcourt,KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, was among 131 students graduating from the Licensed Practical Nursing program at TCAT Elizabethton on August 11. The oldest of three sisters, nicknamed Gugu, is fluent in English. She said she learned about the TCAT nursing program from friends.
“It was a great program. Nursing instructors were great. Students were treated like family. I have grown so much,” she said. Her future plans include enrolling at Milligan College and obtaining a degree as a Registered Nurse. Next, she plans to obtain a Master’s Degree in nursing. Afterwards, she plans to return to her native South Africa to work in the health care field, where, she said, there is a short supply of health care workers.
Gugu expressed appreciation to TCAT for giving her the opportunity to obtain a degree in practical nursing. The program, which takes 12 months to complete, prepares graduates for the Tennessee Board of Nursing exam to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.
News about the TCAT program is also felt within the region. Other practical nursing students in the 2016 graduating class include Carrie Dillard, who drove two hours each day to class from her residence in North Carolina. Ashley Meece moved to Northeast Tennessee from Kentucky to attend TCAT. Denver Moses followed in the footsteps of his wife, who graduated from the TCAT practical nursing program last year. The father of Hannah Collier and sisters of Miranda Simons, Page Garrabrant and Lindsey Rowe, are also graduates of the TCAT nursing program.
Emma Hopson, ADN, BSN, MSN, and Sandy Barker, BSN, MS, nursing faculty instructors at TCAT Elizabethton, said Wellmont Health System has already contacted them to arrange employment interviews with graduates of the 2016 nursing class. Currently, TCAT Elizabethton’s Practical Nursing Program has a 95 percent job placement rate.
TCAT Elizabethton also offers short-term training classes in Phlebotomy and Certified Nurse Assistance, taught by Cathy Ashburn, BSN. On average, there are 10 to 12 students in each class, which begins every 45 days.
Kacie Hauldren, BSN, MSN, director of the practical nursing program at TCAT Elizabethton, said she is proud of the nursing graduates, who receive both classroom and clinical training. “Most of all, I am proud of each student’s work ethic and their desire to become an excellent nurse,” she said.
Practical nursing classes are offered at the TCAT Main Campus, 426 Highway 91 North in Elizabethton, beginning in May and September each year, and on the ETSU at Kingsport Campus at Allandale, 1501 University Blvd., Kingsport, beginning in January.
For more information about the practical nursing program, telephone 423-543-0070, or visit to review steps for admission and a copy of the program cost sheet.

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