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!

Flames, faculty, and philanthropy: August FLAME! FORWARD!

FLAME! FORWARD! is our company’s time for all collaborators, both faculty and administration, to realign with our mission, vision, and values, and to be appraised on the state of the College. It is also a week to remember Florence Nightingale’s caring example, and to carry the flame forward to help those in need.

Mikhail Shneyder, our president and CEO, said that the College Seal, which has flames in the center, represents the lantern that Florence Nightingale carried to each bedside as she worked tirelessly through the night to save dying soldiers in the Crimean War. She was even nicknamed “The Lady with the Lamp.”

Through personal elevation, company unity, and giving back to the community, Nightingale College’s tradition of FLAME! FORWARD! is an opportunity to spread some good in the world, just as Florence Nightingale did.

This year, we also heard from our Elevate Coach, Greg Wightman. Greg spoke about how he tries to improve people, relationships, and functions through elevation, without taking away the differences that make each party unique. “I try to elevate the process, but not lose the humanity in the elevation,” he said.

The second and third days are faculty development, the time when faculty learn from our Executive Council how to better teach their learners. For example, the lead faculty in St. George, Utah, taught our faculty different ways to prepare the high-fidelity simulation mannequins within the school, including some new techniques for removing the clothing of a burn victim. Susan Jero, the Director of Nursing Education Services, presented on the College curriculum and provided other nursing program updates.

The faculty also discussed how their learners are doing, and the specifics of different classes. Some teachers had questions about how to deal with absenteeism. Others had questions about the remote model, and how to connect and interact with the learner over the internet.

Give Back Day is usually the favorite part of FLAME! FORWARD! This year, there were three different locations that needed our help: The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, The Humane Society of Utah, and the Weber County Animal Shelter.

OWCAP is a local “Head Start” program, or a preschool program for children in low-income families. The facility also houses a food bank, an employment center, an adult education center, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (Vita) program, and many other services that help those in our community with low incomes.

Those who went to OWCAP helped with landscaping and cleaning in preparation for the upcoming school year. While some collaborators washed windows, others pulled weeds in the playground areas and others ripped out bushes that were becoming too overgrown. Some bushes were so hard to pull out, our crew had to recruit the help of the OWCAP staff’s pickup truck and rip them out with a chain!

At The Humane Society of Utah, a no-kill shelter in Salt Lake City, our collaborators helped load trucks for the upcoming “Clear the Shelters” event, on August 19, 2017. Animal lovers, listen up! All cats, bunnies, and small animals have a waived adoption fee, and all dogs will have a 25% off adoption fee for that day only.

Many of our collaborators wanted to adopt the animals themselves after volunteering to walk the dogs and cuddling the cats and small animals. The hard part for them wasn’t loading trucks, it was returning to the College without an animal.

The faculty volunteered at the Weber County Animal Shelter, a facility that has a mission similar to our own, but a smaller, fluffier clientele. Like the volunteers at the Humane Society, they walked dogs and helped clean the facility. The shelter thrives on volunteers to assist in their day-to-day operations, and help their pets find forever homes.

Volunteering is essential to our own operations here at Nightingale College. Our first value, Beyond Self, constantly challenges us to selflessly serve others. We do that by not only serving in our communities, but by helping educate those nurses who will, in turn, serve their own communities. We hope that those nurses we graduate will carry the FLAME! FORWARD! tradition on and continue to elevate themselves and society.