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The Caldwell University Nursing Department held its 3rd annual nursing convocation and professional pinning May 16.   Thirty-six graduating seniors in the nursing program received their pins, a symbol of pride and accomplishment that unites nurses all over the world.

Marycarol Rossignol, Ph.D., director of the nursing program and professor, told the students that they are entering the healthcare profession at an interesting time of health reform when new roles for nurses are developing with changes in health care delivery systems. She reminded them that they have been prepared with the essential body of scientific knowledge, clinical competencies and the qualities of professional education to begin their nursing careers. “It is our hope that this preparation has cultivated a foundation for evidenced-based practice, a spirit of inquiry, and lifelong learning,” she said.

Patrick Progar, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, greeted the gathered and gave them details on the history of the nursing program and how it  has grown exponentially in its three years of existence.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D. told the students that they will practice the skills they learned with compassion and humanity. In addition to having completed their nursing major, she said, they have completed a core and enriched curriculum that emphasizes the dignity of each person. “You have chosen to be part of a ‘caring’ profession, one that assists sick and dying people and interacts with their families and loved ones during times of stress and emotion.  At that time, you will most embody the mission of Caldwell, its Dominican tradition and our core values of respect and community.”

Matthew L. Russo, LNHA, ’93, administrator of the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, gave the keynote address saying that there is “no better feeling than to be able to care for someone else” and that their opportunities are limitless.   “As healthcare professionals we need to be students for life because we must continue to learn and grow as our profession is always changing.”  He noted that all of his success was rooted “in the walls” where he was speaking, as he studied sociology and played basketball during his years at Caldwell University.  “Caldwell at that time strengthened me as a young man and I feel confident it has done the same for you.  You are ready and if you don’t believe it, you should know it.  You are ready, you’ve been prepared.  The healthcare profession awaits your gifts and the talents you will bring and we are always seeking new leaders.”

Chaplain Father A. Berner gave the invocation and blessed the pins.

Brenda B. Peterson, M.S.N, assistant director of nursing, presented the candidates.

Alyson Mogavero ‘ 14 gave the valedictorian remarks and shared her story of pushing away the obstacles and successfully working towards her goal of becoming a nurse.   She spoke of her gratitude for the nursing faculty and the nursing department.

Professor Nan Childress Orchard, DMA, chair of the music department and professor of music, provided processional and recessional music at the piano.  Junior Nursing major Nicolette D’Allessio on marimba and graduating Psychology major Patrick Lehosky on drums performed Minoru Miki’s Marimba Spiritual for a musical interlude.”

The Caldwell University Nursing pin is a tangible symbol of the students’ hard work and dedication.  Pinning represents a new beginning in the journey towards professionalism, dedication and service to mankind.  It occurs on the threshold of the graduate’s career as a professional nurse and serves as a warm remembrance of friendship, hours of studying and academic accomplishment.

The Caldwell pin was designed by representatives from the first nursing graduating class of 2012.  The centrally located nightingale lamp is a symbol of care and comfort to the sick and suffering.  The cross represents the institution’s Dominican commitment and Judeo-Christian tradition.  Laurel leaves encircle the pin and symbolize success, peace and life.