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College of Nursing

  • Horseshoe campus

Presidential Coin of Excellence

Freshman nursing student quick to assist fellow Gamecock. 

Walking back to her freshman dorm after her fall academic advising session, Grace Laughlin was focused on signing up for next semester’s classes and thinking ahead to applying to upper division. Laughlin's attention quickly shifted when she heard a loud crack and looked behind her to see a large tree limb had fallen on South Carolina’s historic Horseshoe. She instinctively ran over to the group of students standing around the limb to assess the situation and look for opportunities to help.

As Laughlin approached the limb, she noticed a female student sitting on the ground with an open wound on her head. She promptly asked those standing around for a t-shirt or towel to begin applying pressure to the student’s injury. Laughlin stayed with the student to ensure pressure was properly applied and to help keep the victim calm and comfortable. 

“I felt a sense of accomplishment and joy being able to assist a student. The experience only confirmed that I’m on the right path in my career.” -  says Laughlin

When the incident spread across campus, President Bob Caslen commended Laughlin’s courage by awarding her a Presidential Coin for exemplifying the Carolina Creed values.

Laughlin says she has always known she wanted to pursue a career in the health sciences and found her passion for nursing after participating in her high school’s pre-med program. “We spent time at McLeod Hospital shadowing nurses in different areas. My favorite rotation was in the ICU where I saw the impact of providing immediate support in emergency settings,” Laughlin says. During the program, Laughlin’s teachers instilled the importance of being prepared for emergency situations. With this lesson in mind, she likes to imagine different scenarios of potential accidents and how she would react and assist the victims. She believes visually preparing herself for emergency situations helped her respond immediately in this real-life critical accident.

When not saving the day, Laughlin is finding her place on campus as a freshman and is enjoying meeting new people. As a Galen Fellow, Loughlin has a built-in network of girls in her dorm whom all share an interest in health sciences. “We have events twice a month to get to know each other and connect- in October we had a pumpkin decorating party and a pizza with professors’ night,” Laughlin says. Loughlin looks forward to the rest of her freshman year and can’t wait to take more nursing related classes in her sophomore year.


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