Hard work pays off for USC Aiken nursing students

USC Aiken School of Nursing graduate Hayden Hayes is already getting acclimated to a nurse’s schedule.


The graduate said she went to bed early many nights, only to wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. to study for her classes.

After she passes the NCLEX, a standardized test needed to obtain a nursing license, Hayes plans to accept a cardiac position in Anderson, S.C.

“It’s been long and rough, but very rewarding,” she said.

Madison Reed, a representative of the nursing program, praised the hard work of the 44 nursing students at the school’s pinning ceremony Thursday afternoon.

“This is the best this group of students has looked in about two and a half years,” Reed told family and friends of the nursing students.

Reed described nights of “ugly cries,” followed by days of dark circles under their eyes. She then recalled the moments that made their efforts worth it as they sat with patients in clinicals or answered call lights for patients in need.

The pinning ceremony is a tradition at nursing programs across the country to symbolize achievements in their field, according to Ashley Brittain, faculty member in the school of nursing.

Each school’s pin is different to represent that institute. USCA’s contains red and gold to represent courage and worthiness, a knot to symbolize the relationship between the school and the community, and the seal of South Carolina to show the value of higher education by the state. Rays of light represent the light of knowledge.

“The pin received today should be worn proudly because it symbolizes pride, and the high standards and rich history of the school of nursing here at USCA,” Brittain said.

USCA’s nursing students will be accepting positions in various places once they pass the NCLEX, including New Jersey, New York, and hospitals and medical offices across Georgia and South Carolina. Most students will be staying in the area, with the majority accepting positions at AU Medical Center, Doctors Hospital and University Hospital.

The students accepted their degrees from USC Aiken later that evening at the school’s 2017 December convocation.