Summer 2017 Graduation Recap

Those who arrived early to see their nurses graduate were lucky, because by ten minutes till, there wasn’t a spare seat to be found among the 1,500 in the auditorium.

The friends and family in those seats jumped to their feet clapping and whistling as the triumphant procession of graduates entered the room and took their seats.

Fifty-seven Nightingale learners graduated this semester, completing their Associate Degree in Nursing. As they took their seats, their excitement was more obvious than kids on Christmas morning.   

“It always seems impossible until it is done,” said valedictorian Annie Dilling, quoting Nelson Mandela in her speech. “Well my friends and fellow graduates, we are done.”

Cheers and whoops erupted from the soon-to-be nurses.

What an accomplishment! We are so proud of all these learners who have studied countless hours, sacrificed precious sleep, and dedicated so much of their time and energy to becoming nurses. We know you will be incredible in this noble profession. These graduates will now work towards passing the NCLEX-RN and becoming licensed as registered nurses.

The Faculty and Valedictorian Addresses

After the announcements had been given, Amanda Nussbaum, lead faculty for Twin Falls and assistant professor, gave a moving speech about how nursing isn’t always about how much you know from your textbooks. Most of the time, she said, it’s about how much you demonstrate care to the patient.

She also threw in some punny jokes, after a friend on Facebook told her she would give her $5 for each one she told. We love her attitude.

The valedictorian address, given by Annie Dilling, focused on what it means to truly be a nurse. “Being a nurse is 90% calling and 10% job,” she said. Although there are challenges and demands in the nursing field, it is a profession in which you can truly make a difference. We’re proud of you, Annie.

The Nursing Pinning

After the speeches, a small group of graduates was called to the stage. Their selected family members, dressed in their best, had the honor of presenting them with their nursing pin. The nursing pin is a symbolic medal of honor, and a commitment to treat patients with respect. It is a poignant rite of passage into their nursing career.

Many of the graduates had their children pin them, and one little tyke ran around the stage refusing to leave after his mom was pinned. A few of the graduates tried to catch him, but he ran circles around them until they cornered him.

Other graduates were pinned by their spouses or parents. One graduate had someone stand in for her mother, who has passed on, in a touching tribute.

The Lighting of the Lamps

The lighting of the lamps is a reverent ordeal where the Nightingale graduates light each of their lamps to symbolize the lamp that Florence Nightingale tirelessly carried to and from each sickbed.

“The graduates light the Nursing Lamp as a demonstration of confidence, competence, and compassion and as a promise to meet every professional challenge with utmost skill, sound clinical judgment, and inexhaustible caring,” reads the description.

They then turned to the audience, and with smiling faces and more than a few teary eyes, recited the Florence Nightingale pledge. The pledge says, in part, “I pledge 

to care for my patients with all of the knowledge, skills and understanding that I possess, without regard to race, color, creed, politics, or social status.” We know you will, graduates.

What this means for Nightingale

While we celebrate the achievements of the graduates, this graduation is also an accomplishment for Nightingale College. Not only is this the largest graduating 

cohort in the school’s history, it also marks the first graduation of the Twin Falls, Idaho DDC. Six graduates came from the Twin Falls DDC, along with 17 from Pocatello, three from Saint George, and 30 from Ogden.

We hope that these new nurses will continue to keep the flame alive as they care for their patients. We look forward to seeing

 how they better the health in their communities. Congratulations, graduates! FLAME! FORWARD!

5 Ways Real Nurses Deal with Emotional Trauma at Work (+VIDEO)

We all know that the nursing profession is not an easy one, and by no means a stress-free one. So what do nurses do to handle the stress and emotional trauma after a tough day at work?

We often forget that nurses are people too! They have feelings and sometimes they need a good cry just like everyone else. When their patients are extremely ill or even pass away, the nurse is often left feeling the pain long afterwards. Mikhail Shneyder, our CEO, was once a nurse himself. He said the profession is built on “unwavering dedication, personal sacrifice, and all-encompassing empathy.” Sometimes that empathy may get to be too much for nurses.

How do they move on? How do they handle it? We asked some of our nurse faculty and administration how they unwind emotionally after a traumatic incident. They offered up some advice to help you take some of that weight of your shoulders. Here are a few of their tips:

Remember why you became a nurse

Tayler Allen, an RN who teaches for our ADN program, said that she reflects on why she became a nurse, and that gives her more purpose to continue through the rest of the hectic workday. “The number one thing that I always do is just reflect back on why I even went into nursing, and that was because I truly enjoy helping people,” she said. “I want them to heal, I want them to know that I’m compassionate towards them and that I really care about their total outcome as a human being, not just as a patient.”

Talking it out

While it may seem obvious, another thing that can be helpful is talking it out with coworkers or family. Assistant Professor Amanda Nussbaum, who also works in an intensive care unit, said that after an unexpected death, she vents to the other health workers. “Dealing with mourning family members, and kind of that frustration with whether or not you could have foreseen what was going to happen, whether or not you could have done things to prevent the death…In dealing with that stress, I find that I reach out to coworkers, and we talk about our stories and our experiences and share that grief.”

You might have noticed a huddled group of nurses in the hall when you’ve been to the hospital. You may think it’s a bunch of nurses slacking off and shooting the breeze, but really, there’s more to the story. Chyleen Tucker, a nurse and Nightingale Area Regional Manager in Idaho, said, “They’re not really chatting, they’re processing. They’re processing that traumatic event by talking it over amongst themselves. ”

Personal time

As expected, nurses sometimes need some personal time to cry it out and just to embrace being really miserable for a little bit. They need time to internally process what happened, and this looks different for everyone. Karen Sincerbeaux, an instructor for our ADN program, said she takes quiet time to cry, pray, to “absorb” what happened. She said she likes to take that evening to watch the sunset or maybe study the bible, “Taking time to process and surrender those feelings, and then it allows me to let go and move on to the next day.”

While many may not be up for an evening outside, there are other ways to snag some personal time. Chyleen said she enjoys reading. A nice fluffy book to take your mind off the pain. “A fiction,” said Chyleen. “Something that will get me kind of out of the way, make my mind think and get me out of that world.”

Exercise

Don’t you hate it when the answer is exercise? But it’s true. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.” All four of the nurses we interviewed mentioned some kind of exercise as a way to lighten up. Long walks, especially in nature, are definitely favorites, because it allows them time to ponder and come to terms with the events of the day. They also mentioned running and yoga.

Moving on

Somehow, nurses always manage to move on. Aren’t they incredible? They still come to work the next day, ready to help the next ailing soul, even though they know that disaster could happen at any moment. That’s why nurses are so special. They witness so much pain, yet are always willing to lend a hand again and again. They know the value of health and life, and they don’t take it for granted. Amanda said that after a traumatic event or a death, she goes home and remembers to hug her loved ones a little tighter that day.

What are some ways you cope in stressful, even traumatic, situations?