Contact: Thomas Hottman
Paul Stewart, Sky Lakes Medical Center CEO, was the keynote speaker at the first pinning ceremony for the Oregon Institute of Technology Respiratory Care Program graduates.
Fifteen Oregon Institute of Technology students received blue and gold pins during the inaugural respiratory-care pinning ceremony Thursday evening.
The OIT students completed the four year program for their Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care, and this year commenced the first pinning ceremony for the graduates.
A pinning ceremony has historically been a symbolic welcoming for nursing graduates entering the professional world. Jeri Joelle Wilson, respiratory care graduate, put the ceremony together for the respiratory class.
"I've done a lot for this program but that's because I'm an older student returning. I've raised my kids, I've done my thing and I see the importance of this program," Wilson said. "I know how it can improve and benefit other students."
While a student, Wilson not only put together the pinning ceremony, but got a grant for benches at OIT and connected OIT with Life Flight as a part of their medical training.
She's also an officer for the respiratory club, and used the funds she helped raise to put together the pinning ceremony at Night Street Venue.
Fellow students came up to Wilson, giving her hugs, flowers and expressing their appreciation.
"Love them all, and I'm still crying over the flowers," Wilson said. "As a parent myself, I'm so proud of everybody who's in this program because as younger kids going into this, they've got their lives mapped out for them, it's just incredible. I'm really proud of all of them."
Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstrom spoke at the ceremony and congratulated the students on their accomplishments.
"I'm so pleased to see a full room of parents, grandparents and students," Kellstrom said. "It's heartwarming to see this."
Paul Stewart, Sky Lakes Medical Center CEO, was the keynote speaker for the event. He emphasized the importance of medical prevention and the need for more rural medical providers.
Stewart also spoke about the "big picture," the United States healthcare system.
He said that on all levels our society needs to invest more in keeping people well and creating incentives for health care providers to focus on prevention, education and wellness. Also to create incentives for consumers to make better choices.
"My challenge to you, as you go out and become a part of the health care system," Stewart said, "is to not just focus on fixing things that are broken but to find ways to actually help people attain and maintain the highest degree of health."
"As a parent myself, I'm so proud of everybody who's in this program because as younger kids going into this, they've got their lives mapped out for them, it's just incredible."
Jeri Joelle Wilson, respiratory care graduate