Union College nursing students began journey toward career in healing

Published on
September 22, 2015

Union College nursing students began journey toward career in healingThe 2017 class of nursing students at Union College have begun their journey toward a career of healing those in need.  

In a white coat ceremony held at the Conway Boatman Chapel on Thursday, Marisa Greer, Interim Dean of Nursing, led 16 students across the stage and cloaked each with a white lab coat; a universal symbol of the career the students have chosen to pursue. Other professors from the Edna Jenkins Mann School of Nursing gave the students a journal and a candle. The professors congratulated each student as they left the stage to applause and photographs from family members in the audience. 

The ceremony is a closely regarded tradition in the nursing and medical field. It helps to define the career the students have chosen, all of which began with clinical studies one day prior to the ceremony.

“I heard so many of these students say yesterday that they ‘will never forget this day,’” Greer said. “That is the significance of the journal. They can record their path along this journey and look back at what a special time it is.”

This is only the second class of students to enter the second stage of the four-year Bachelor of Nursing Program since the program began in 2014. The BSN students at the college began their pre-licensure curriculum in the fall of 2012. Those students are now seniors and will graduate from Union in May 2016. Union also offers students a 40 credit hour RN to BSN program, which was introduced in 2010 when the Edna Jenkins Mann School of Nursing was officially opened.

“This program is demanding and rigorous,” said Dr. David Johns, Union’s Vice-President of Academic Affairs. “You may have days where you question your decision, but there will be many more days that you know you are doing exactly what you were born to do.”

Dr. Johns said the students were on a journey to care for their human family in great times of need. He offered the students encouragement and asked them to cross borders, set aside their fears and induce change along their journey. 

“The journey that you are on requires you to care. It requires that you care about more than yourself and that you care about more than what your future holds,” he said. “Nursing requires that not only you know how to provide care, but that you care for those you are helping.”

Greer told students the world of nursing invites “lots of competitiveness,” especially in relation to the limited opportunities students have to enter a licensure program. For the 16 students beginning their clinical experience, Greer licensed the group to a flock of flying geese, each soaring on the thrust of the others.

“From this point forward, you are all in this together,” she said. “Those who share that sense of community will get where they are going.”

The Class of 2017 includes Amber Howard, Trinity Blevins, Kayla Brown, Kayla Fultz, Felisha Gray, Haleigh Grubb, Jacob Johnston, Elizabeth Jones, Liza Lane, Cali Maggard, Bobbie Mills, Jenna Mills, Natasha Rawlings, Melissa Schmoke, Allison Swafford and Holly Tidwell.

The Edna Jenkins Mann School of Nursing offers two options for students seeking a baccalaureate degree in nursing.  The RN to BSN program is for those who are already registered nurses after completing an associate degree or diploma program.  The pre-licensure program is designed for those who are entering college or returning to college who are seeking to enter the profession with a baccalaureate degree. The baccalaureate program at Union College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.