Last updated: June 03. 2013 5:36PM -
By - mbiebel@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6109

CLARK VAN ORDEN photos/THE TIMES LEADERMembers of the 2013 graduating class from Luzerne County Community College line up before the pinning ceremony on a recent Monday at the Genetti Hotel in Wilkes-Barre.
CLARK VAN ORDEN photos/THE TIMES LEADERMembers of the 2013 graduating class from Luzerne County Community College line up before the pinning ceremony on a recent Monday at the Genetti Hotel in Wilkes-Barre.
Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:
More Info:



I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.

I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.

I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.

With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.



The nursing profession is both science and art, said registered nurse Bette Mae Ritchotte of Shickshinny, who stepped out of a wheelchair to pin her daughter, Brittany, during Luzerne County Community College’s recent pinning ceremony.

“The science end is always a grounding, sheer fact and there’s no altering from it,” she said. “The art of nursing, that’s very personal. For as many nurses there are, there are as many different approaches.

“It’s a submersion kind of a job,” she continued. “When you’re there, you’re all there. No matter what is happening in your personal life or on the planet. For me, that was an anchor through crazy times in my life.”

A graduate of the former Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Allentown, Ritchotte, 57, worked at her profession from 1976 until complications of multiple sclerosis forced her to retire in 2007.

It’s not an easy job, Ritchotte said, and it can be sobering to realize that no matter what you do, some patients will not recover. But a nurse can still ease that person’s burden, even if only for one day, or one moment.

“I could make a difference for that one person,” she said. “Maybe I couldn’t ‘fix it’ for that one person, but I could still make a difference and have a purpose.”

Though she’s proud to see her 22-year-old daughter follow in her footsteps, she didn’t push her to do so, Ritchotte said.

“Through the years and her school activities, whenever somebody got hurt, she was always right there to calm people. She’s been that way with me, too.”

In six brief words, Justin McIntyre summed up the basic, vital aspect of his calling.

“We save people’s lives every day,” said McIntyre, a registered nurse who lives in Danville and works in the emergency room of the Geisinger Medical Center.

On a recent Monday, McIntyre explained he’s happy to welcome his cousin Erin Hornberger-Wetzel to their chosen profession.

The two grew up together, and she’s really more like a sister than a cousin to him, so he was especially honored that she wanted him to attach her nurse’s pin to her crisp white uniform during Luzerne County Community College’s annual pinning ceremony.

The annual ritual, held during a brunch at the Genetti Best Western Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre, honored 129 graduates who are prepared to take the registered-nurse test.

Ask any of the graduates why they want to become nurses, and you’re likely to hear comments about compassion, comfort and helping the patients heal.

“You’re not going to be a good nurse unless you have a heart,” said Hornberger-Wetzel, 32, who hails from the Shamokin area.

But it’s safe to say everyone’s path to the nursing diploma was unique.

For Nicole Rundle, 27, of Orangeville, the path may have begun when she was a little girl, recuperating from burns in a Shriners Hospital and being impressed by the kind nursing staff, one of whom, she recalls, named a daughter after her.

Brianna Battista, 26, of Bloomsburg, has been working as a licensed practical nurse, and becoming a registered nurse is the next logical step.

Similarly, her twin sister, Jackie Battista, has been working as a surgical tech, tending to surgical equipment and supplies before, during and after surgeries. This will be a gateway to more opportunities, Jackie Battista said. Incidentally, the sisters’ father, Glenn Battista couldn’t be prouder of his daughter’s accomplishment.

“Having two nurses in the family will make understanding medical issues a lot easier,” he said.

For others, the convenience of attending LCCC played a role.

“I had my kids early. When they were old enough, I went back to school,” said Angela Bialecki, 40, of Bloomsburg, mother of two teenagers who “just interviewed for a job in the operating room at Geisinger in Danville.”

Then there’s the factor of knowing you’ll be qualified for jobs in a field with many openings, with both the Geisinger Health Care System and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital recruiting and hiring nurses.

“The economy led me to choose this,” graduating nurse Hornberger-Wetzel said, explaining she worked as a designer for several years after earning a degree in that field from Millersville University.

Most of the 100 graduates who attended the pinning ceremony accepted their pins from Dr. JoAnne Chipego, chair of the department of nursing, but several invited family members who are in the nursing profession to perform that task.

“I’m very proud of her,” said nurse Sheryl Hopczey of Hazleton, who pinned her daughter, Dana. “It’s so nice to see her carry on what I do. I always liked helping people, and I see the same qualities in her. She’s very kind and caring. It’s a good fit for her.”

All user comments are subject to our Terms of Service. Users may flag inappropriate comments.
comments powered by Disqus

Featured Businesses


Info Minute

Gas Prices

Wilkes-Barre Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com