May 17, 2022

After rigorous curriculum and clinical hours, grads are ready to fill essential jobs

PORTSMOUTH – Great Bay Community College held a Pinning Ceremony for the 2022 Nursing program graduates on Friday, May 13th at 4 p.m. at the College’s Portsmouth campus.  This year, 39 students received their associate degrees in nursing after completing a rigorous evidenced-based curriculum with over 800 hours of clinical experience at area health care agencies.

The event included a History of Pinning offered by Dr. Dulcinea Kaufman, Nursing Department Chair who also presented the graduates with their pins. The Student Speaker was Arielle Camillo and Professor of Nursing, Heather Lemire, did the Reading of Pinning Sentiments. Samantha Coombs-Pierce and Leah Rodgers, the Pinning Committee Co-Chairs, led the Nursing Class of 2022 in the Florence Nightingale Pledge. At other ceremonies that week, Coombs-Pierce was recognized with the Heron Award for outstanding community service and the President’s Award for Outstanding Student.

“The students in this class have been amazing,” said Kaufman. “They have had been very dedicated and flexible throughout this past two years and really care about each other as well as their patients. Over 65% of the class have been offered and accepted a position as an RN. They will be working at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Fresenius Kidney Care, Seacoast Mental Health Center, Anna Jaques Hospital, Catholic Medical Center, Concord Hospital, and McLean Hospital.”

2021 Nursing program graduates at Great Bay Community College recently achieved a 98% Pass rate, on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). For seven of the last eight years, Great Bay nursing students have consistently tested above the national average, with pass rates between 88 percent and 98 percent. Demand for slots in the nursing program at Great Bay remain strong, due in part to regional and national trends as well as the program’s reputation for training exceptional nurses.

Katie Cilley, former president of the Great Bay Student Nurses Association, is among the 2022 nursing graduates. Before becoming a nurse, she was a nursing assistant and emergency medical technician. “I want to be nurse because I want to help my patients in ways I couldn’t as a nursing assistant and EMT. By becoming a nurse, I can be a great advocate for the patients I care for,” said Cilley, who will work in the intensive care unit at Concord Hospital.

After graduating and passing her national nursing exam, Nursing graduate Laura Lingar of Rochester will begin working as a nurse in the dissociative disorders and trauma inpatient unit at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.

She began pursuing her degree when she graduated from paramedic school six years ago. In 2017, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease forcing her to put education aside.

Then, at the end of her first year in the nursing program at GBCC, she was diagnosed with a genetic connective tissue disorder and faced another surgery a well as the challenges of the pandemic.

But because of Great Bay’s creativity and flexibility, she was able to continue her education not missing a lecture or exam and completing all required in-person clinical time.  She credits the faculty, staff, and her classmates for helping her stay on her path. “I chose Great Bay for the community. I loved that my classmates come from every walk of life. Fresh out of high school, retirees, blue collar, moms, dads, and everyone in-between. Everyone is here in attempt to better themselves and the world around them and it is very inspiring.”

According to Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) Chancellor, Dr. Mark Rubinstein, CCSNH conferred degrees of 236 registered nurses and 27 LPN’s at this year’s graduation ceremonies. As he congratulated the graduates he said, “Over the past 12 years, over 3000 nursing degrees have been conferred by CCSNH. Over the past 2 years, as we have struggled with healthcare challenges through the pandemic, the role the Community College System of NH has played in this state for these communities is also critical.”

Great Bay Community College is a comprehensive postsecondary institution offering quality academic and professional and technical education in support of workforce development and lifelong learning. Great Bay Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, a public system of higher education consisting of seven colleges in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Concord, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth. The colleges offer Associate degrees and career training in technical, professional and general fields, including transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees. For more information on Great Bay Community College, visit