Milligan nursing area celebrates 20 years of impacting lives

Milligan College student Brittany Grimes of Nashville, Tennessee, didn’t always want to be a nurse.

In high school, she dreamed of becoming a medical doctor, until she was invited to hear a panel of nurses discuss the nature of their work.

“They talked about how hands-on they were and the impact they’ve made on hundreds of lives,” said Grimes, 27, who started Milligan’s highly-respected nursing program after graduating from Middle Tennessee State University. “That stayed with me. I wanted to be a patient’s first face.”

When she graduates Milligan College tomorrow, May 7, with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Grimes will begin her journey of impacting lives. She was accepted into Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s highly-competitive nurse intern program, which she will begin in August.

On Thursday, Grimes, along with 32 other Milligan nursing students, were initiated into the professional practice of nursing through a unique and highly symbolic pinning ceremony at the college.

“To me, it meant that this is real,” said Heather Greene of Elizabethton, Tennessee, regarding the ceremony. “The faculty have given us their blessing to conquer the world of nursing.”

“I count it a privilege to have been part of all 20 pinning ceremonies,” said Dr. Melinda Collins, associate dean of the School of Sciences and Allied Health and Mountain States Health Alliance chair of nursing. “I am so very proud of all the graduates as they join what will now be 357 alumni who are living out the mission of Milligan College by providing nursing servant leadership around the globe.”

After graduating and completing the licensure examination, Greene will transition from working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to a registered nurse (RN) at the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Greene–who at 33 already has a busy life as a wife, mother and full-time LPN–said continuing her education as a non-traditional student was a wonderful experience.

“Milligan embraced me,” said Greene, who has always dreamed of attending the college. “The students who live on campus were incredibly welcoming to older students.”

Both Grimes and Greene agreed that one of the best parts of the program is the accessibility of the faculty.

“From the second I was accepted, I spoke to Dr. Collins often,” said Grimes, “and it’s very rare that you speak with the dean of your college’s program. I really appreciated that.”

Greene believes that becoming a nurse is at the core of Milligan’s mission: to train servant leaders.

“You can tell when a nurse has gone to Milligan,” said Greene. “They have a servant mindset.”