‘You were born to be a nurse:’ Injured nursing student gets surprise graduation ceremony

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Tri-Cities nursing student received a big surprise Monday while undergoing treatment of her own.

25-year-old Brenna Jones was badly injured after being hit head-on while driving on Highway 361 in Carter County on April 4.

Jones had to be cut out of her vehicle and flown to Johnson City Medical Center where she’s still receiving treatment.

She was devastated when she thought she wouldn’t be able to attend her upcoming graduation because of her recovery.

So – JCMC staff, her classmates and school brought the nurse’s pinning ceremony to her.

“On behalf of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology introduce to our first graduate of the 2019 LPN Brenna Jones,” Meredith Pardee of the TCAT Nursing program said.

Jones was in shock and overcome with emotion with her support system by her side witnessing her nursing “pinning” ceremony while still at the hospital.

“What I can’t teach is caring, that is born not learned, and you were born to be a nurse,” Pardee said.

Brenna was welcomed into the nursing profession alongside her mother who is also a nurse.

Her legs were shattered as a result of the crash, among other serious injuries.

“All my family, all my friends, and the people that helped me with the wreck, thank you,” Jones said.

Those first responders were also there to see her big day.

“We never get to follow that patient’s recovery through, we never do, this was actually the first one. That means a lot to us, to see her success,” Hampton Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Scottie Wilson said.

Her young daughter was also by here side.

“It means the world to me. She’s my world,” Jones said.

Her mother tells us she’s improving everyday.

“Her color is returning to her cheeks, and she’s got her humor back and her smile back. And just being able to see her graduate today is the most amazing thing,” Brenna’s mother Tawnya Murwyn said.

She’s preparing to start the next chapter of her life.

“I just see her blossoming as a nurse, and I think this whole experience will speak to her in many, many ways,” Practical Nursing Program Director Kathy Bullen said.

Bullen said she’s grateful that Ballad Health was listening to Jones’ story and helped make the pinning ceremony happen.

Doctors are suggesting Brenna go to a long-term care facility so she can learn to walk again.

After this experience – Brenna tells us she wants to get her RN to become a trauma nurse.

As for the driver of the car that hit Jones – The Tennessee Highway Patrols told us they’re awaiting drug and alcohol test results on the driver. So far no charges have been filed.

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