Seventeen nurses recently made GW history by becoming the first undergraduate class to graduate from the university’s School of Nursing.
The school honored its newest graduates Monday night with a baccalaureate pinning ceremony—a traditional rite of passage in nursing—on GW’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Va.
Dean of Nursing Jean Johnson told the inaugural class that the pinning ceremony marked the “beginning of their professional life as a nurse.”
“You are entering a profession that has tremendous responsibility,” said Dr. Johnson. “You’re responsible for people’s lives; you’re responsible for a patient’s well-being—you and every nurse in the country. When you’re tired, when you have lots of going on in your head, you have to put those aside because your first responsibility as a nurse is your patient.”
“We are all so proud of you,” she added. “You have really accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time, so congratulations to each and every one of you.”
In her address, guest speaker Susan Hassmiller, senior adviser for nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, talked about the future of nursing and health care, and called the job “the most respected profession in the country.”
Student speaker Kaycee Mullins, B.S.N. ’10, said that for each member of the class, becoming a registered nurse was “a calling.” “Each of us has become very skilled nurses during this journey,” said Ms. Mullins. “In our calling, and profession, we will not only help to heal and comfort and prevent diseases, but we will continue to grow our individual nursing practices.”
At the end of the ceremony, the students took the Nightingale Pledge, an oath traditionally taken by all new nurses named after the most famous nurse of all, Florence Nightingale.
Christina Phillips, B.S.’07, B.S.N. ’10, president of GW’s Student Nurses Organization, said she was excited to be part of the school’s inaugural undergraduate nursing class. “My first degree was in exercise science so it was a logical transition for me to go into nursing,” said Ms. Phillips. “The next step for me will be to applying to GW’s doctor of nursing practice program!”
Her mother, Diane Phillips, traveled from Boston to see her daughter graduate and said she was “proud” her daughter will join the long line of nurses in the Phillips’ family.