A day in the life of a TCAT graduate: Barnett recalls experience at postsecondary school

Published 10:27 am Saturday, July 28, 2018

Months of hard work from over 300 students at Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – Elizabethton will soon be on display for the public to see.

TCAT will host their graduation ceremony for students on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. inside Seeger Chapel on the Milligan College campus.

With 333 students scheduled to be recognized, 97 are from Carter County.

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It’s a testament to the hard work and local impact the school makes with the high number of local students. For Lauren Barnett, the decision was easy to continue her education at the TCAT campus.

Barnett officially graduated from the practical nursing class in April but will be among a handful of local students that will be highlighted Thursday evening.

A 2014 graduate of Happy Valley High School, Barnett was quick to point out the joy of nursing first started from her family.

“I’ve been interested in nursing because of my mom,” she said. “She is an RN and I’ve never wanted to do anything else. It is the career I’ve been exposed to throughout my life. I also really enjoy seeing people go from the worst day in their life to the best. It’s a very rewarding career.”

Looking back at her time on campus, Barnett was quick to point out a variety of experience that will leave a lasting impact throughout her professional career.

“I’ll always remember the skills we learned in clinicals,” she said. “I was exposed to various areas and I got to work alongside some experienced nurses that gave me some of the best advice that I will carry throughout my career.

“My time at TCAT was very challenging and stressful at times, but in the end I’m so thankful for my experience.”

Barnett also commended the efforts of the staff at TCAT for their dedication to students.

“Mrs. Hauldren and Mrs. Price are both amazing instructors that love to see their students succeed,” she said. “I can truly say they cared for their students more than any instructor I’ve ever met. They were always available and were very understanding.

“They taught the basic skills needed for nursing and also gave real life experiences,” she continued. “Their expertise gave more insight than any book can ever give. Being a CNA during the program and for four years prior also helped as well.”

TCAT has been able to secure high numbers for graduation and job placement, but it starts with the dedication in the classroom, Barnett said, while also giving some words of advice to current and incoming students.

“Stay focused on one thing at a time,” she said. “Nursing school can be overwhelming and you can’t let that hinder you from succeeding. Keeping your goal set on each individual test or quiz will help in achieving the end goal.”