Piedmont Helps Former Pharmacy Tech Become Nurse
Before becoming a Piedmont student, Marcus Buffington was a nationally certified pharmacy technician for CVS for eight years. After that, he took his pharmacological skills to the emergency department at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
Buffington was something of a detective in the ER, tracking down a patient’s medications when it appeared they might be admitted. Getting the information and logging it correctly was critical for the care of the patient.
Nurses who worked with Buffington told him he should consider becoming a nurse. Once he decided he would, Buffington knew exactly which school he wanted to attend.
“All the good nurses that I knew in the emergency room, they all went to Piedmont,” Buffington said. “It was something that they all had in common. The ones I knew I would want to take care of me, take care of my family, they were Piedmont alumni.”
He applied, and on Valentine’s Day Buffington received the letter telling him he was accepted into Piedmont’s nursing program. Not surprisingly, he aced pharmacology courses, but he knew the program wouldn’t be easy. He would come to love the school, its professors, his cohorts, and the nursing profession.
During Piedmont’s nursing pinning ceremony in May, Buffington received the “Light the Lamp” award, named in honor of Florence Nightingale, who carried a lamp at night when she checked on wounded soldiers during the Crimean War of the 1850s.
Buffington passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) on his first attempt and within two weeks of graduation, he landed a position as an intensive care unit (ICU)/intermediate care unit (IMCU) nurse at Northside Hospital’s Duluth campus.
Now Buffington spreads the word about Piedmont University’s nursing program wherever he may be. One day in June this year, Buffington found himself at a hair salon in a conversation with the mother of a student attending Chamberlain University’s College of Nursing in Atlanta. The mother was distressed about her daughter’s experience and said the faculty “did not care” whether she was successful or not.
The exchange troubled Buffington. He gave the mother in the salon advice to pass on to her daughter and thought about how different his Piedmont experience had been.
“I say it all the time on my way to work: ‘Thank you, God, for sending me to Piedmont.’ It was just what I needed when I needed it,” Buffington said. “All I wanted before I got to Piedmont was to feel accepted, to feel safe, and I always felt that way in those classrooms. I’m so thankful for the nursing leadership. All the professors hold a special place in my heart, and I want to do right by them.”
He composed an email to College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Dr. Julie Behr and told her about the conversation in the salon. He closed the note like this: “Thank you for all that you have done for me. The Piedmont nursing staff help make students’ dreams come true, and that is remarkable in my view. What a privilege it is for me to proudly be a Piedmont alumnus.”
For more information about Piedmont’s nursing and health sciences programs, visit piedmont.edu/nursing-health-sciences.