SJC Long Island’s nursing department welcomed 37 graduating seniors into the nursing profession on Sunday during a virtual pinning ceremony.
The new nurses sat in their homes, alongside their family, to take part in a virtual ceremony celebrating their achievements, despite the social distancing mandates posed by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nursing Director Maria Fletcher, Ph.D., encouraged the cohort of new nurses.
“Tomorrow is full of possibilities,” she said. “The nursing practice in five years will be different. Nursing will be different due to the pandemic. It needs to be different for our profession to move forward. I hope your time with us has underscored that.
She continued: “The pandemic has enlightened the world community to what all of us in nursing was always aware of — we are the essential glue that binds healthcare. We have always been heroes that the world is only now acknowledging.”
Dr. Fletcher held up a nursing pin and announced the name of each graduate during the event. Classmates and families cheered during the reading of the names. Some students celebrated with festive posters and balloons in their homes.
Later, nursing instructor Catherine Pearsall led the graduates in reciting The Nightingale Pledge, a statement of the ethics and principles of the nursing profession.
Interim Executive Dean Eileen White Jahn said she is proud of the nursing graduates in the Class of 2020.
“What an extraordinary semester; you are an extraordinary group,” Dr. Eileen Jahn said. “What a difficult way to get through it. It’s such an interesting time to be going into nursing … Congratulations to you and congratulations to your families who went through this with you. I wish you the best of luck with everything.”
During the ceremony, St. Joseph’s Provost Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Riley, Ph.D., said he is proud of the graduates, sharing that his mother and grandmother were nurses. Later, the nurses were warmly welcomed into the College’s Alumni Association — a network of more than 41,000 professionals — by Rory Shaffer-Walsh, St. Joseph’s vice president for Institutional Advancement.
The department announced five awards during the event:
Director’s Award: Jamie Meere and Taylor Mohlenbrok
Given to the student — or in this case, two students — who achieved the highest GPA in the graduating Class of 2020. Meere and Mohlenbrok earned identical GPAs, each scoring 3.88.
Award for Social Responsibility and Service: Stephanie Surrusco
Given to the student who has actively engaged in voluntary service at the college, local and/or global community level and in developing partnerships to improve health and/or the environment.
Award for Spiritual Values and Integrity: Anne Osias
Given to the student who has demonstrated extraordinary behaviors that reflect spiritual values and exemplifies dignity, respect and honesty.
Leadership Award: Escarleth Ponce Fuentes
Given to a student whose participation and leadership in the life of the nursing department and broader college or communities reflect the values of the college and the Department of Nursing as evident in the College’s motto: Esse non Videri — “To be, not to seem.”
Nightingale Student Nurse Award: Taylor Mohlenbrok
Recognizes a student who not only excels academically, but also demonstrates the values and dedication to the nursing profession espoused by Florence Nightingale.