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Nursing Student Blessing
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Members of Caldwell University came together to celebrate junior-level nursing students at the 8th Annual Gold-AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) White Coat and Blessing of the Hands ceremony on March 8. The students received their white coats and pins in honor of their hard work and dedication to the field of nursing. 

After a welcoming invocation by Dr. Catherine Jirak Monetti, assistant professor for the School of Nursing and Public Health, and greetings from Dr. Donna Naturale, associate dean and associate professor at the School of Nursing and Public Health, Dr. Aneesha Jean, assistant professor for the the School of Nursing and Public Health, gave the opening prayer. 

Dr. Kathleen Kelley, associate professor and director of the School of Nursing and Public Health, introduced the students, who waited to be cloaked by one or more people in their parties. One by one, Kelley welcomed the students while everyone cheered each other on. After receiving their coats, the students prepared for another significant moment–the blessing of their hands.  

The Blessing of the Hands Ceremony is significant because as the hands of the junior nursing students are anointed, they are expected to “bring comfort and healing to those they touch,” said Dr. Melissa Scollan-Koliopoulos, associate professor for the School of Nursing and Public Health. “It won’t always be easy but it will always be needed,” said Scollan-Koliopoulos, reminding students that a nurse’s work impacts the world in the deepest ways, despite its challenges. 

Kelley recognized the work of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) and the foundation’s essential role in improving “the experience and outcomes of health care…by promoting care that is as humane as it is technologically sophisticated.” 

She also spoke about AACN and its representation of nursing programs at the university level. “Representing more than 765 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide,” Kelley said, the organization’s mission is to promote education, research, and experience within the field. 

She also expressed gratitude to the students’ parents. “Parents, if they did not have your support they would not be able to do this,” said Kelley reminding everyone how important it has been for the students to have support systems they can depend on throughout their college education. To all of our students…we hope we can be present in your growth and your journey,” said Kelley. 

Congratulations to the junior nursing students at Caldwell! We are honored to watch you all grow into the medical professionals you deserve to be. Best wishes for the remainder of your college careers as students at Caldwell. 

-Kylee Blaney