The event was remote but close to the hearts of graduating students. Its attendees were separate, yet together – It was the perfect observance in the midst of an imperfect situation.
Amid a global pandemic that has upended higher education courses and graduation plans across the country, a unique online celebration was held for nursing seniors graduating early from Ohio University’s School of Nursing.
College of Health Sciences and Professions Assistant Professor Dr. Sherleena Buchman opened the online celebration by sharing congratulatory remarks with the new graduates.
We’re very proud of you and all the accomplishments that you’ve made in these very, very trying times,” Buchman said.
School of Nursing Director Dr. Deborah Henderson equally commended the new graduates and shared a story about working with several members of the BSN Class of 2020 during a drive-thru immunization clinic; she remembered a discussion about how similar events would likely take place in the event of a pandemic.
“Little did any of us know that those experiences might be relevant to your very near future,” Henderson said. “Congratulations to all of you. My best wishes to you.”
The celebration also featured a tribute video with message boards from various faculty in SON and an interactive Nightingale Pledge that featured faculty leading the oath line by line and passing a virtual candle.
Robyn Rice, assistant professor of instruction, said she considers OHIO’s BSN Class of 2020 to be the “pioneers of the new face of nursing.”
“We don’t know what the future looks like with everything that’s going on in the world today, but we know you’re ready to conquer it,” she said.
Patty Snider, associate director of BSN operations, expressed her pride for, and trust in, OHIO’s newest graduates.
“I hope that if I ever am in a situation needing nursing care, that one of you are my nurse,” she said.
Snider also encouraged OHIO’s newest alumni to return to Athens for Homecoming in future years.
As nursing faculty cheered the Class of 2020, many graduates wiped away tears of joy.
Emotions were evident – for both graduates and faculty – during the playing of a special tribute video.
Eliza Harper, assistant professor of instruction, reminded the new alumni that they are patient advocates.
“If that was your parent or someone you loved in that hospital bed, you would want the most conscientious, caring nurse standing beside them — and that’s you. I know it’s every one of you,” Harper said. “Be caring. Do the right thing. Always be honest and be true to yourself.”
The online forum allowed for casual attire (apart from a few graduates still choosing to sport a graduation cap, sans gown) and an opportunity for students to communicate directly with their faculty and peers.
Computer screens flitted back and forth to new speakers, some struggling through tears but still smiling as they expressed appreciation for the efforts of classmates and faculty throughout the years.
Caleb Moore led the comments from the graduating nursing class saying, “This obviously wasn’t how any of us had planned this whole thing to go but, I can speak for all of us when I say thank you for being such a wonderful, supportive faculty.”
“Going into a new field of nursing, a new challenge for the profession, I feel prepared. That’s all because of you and what you’ve done for us,” Moore added.
Emma Shaver commented, “Thank you! Without great professors like you, I wouldn't have made it through nursing school.”
Tara Shumate said the faculty saw each student at their worst and best and taught them more than just nursing.
“It’s hard to put into words everything I got from being a student at (OHIO) in the School of Nursing,” she said.
As the celebration drew to a close, Abbey Miller shared her appreciation for her classmates and OHIO’s faculty.
“To my fellow graduates, “You all saw me on my absolute worst days. There were times when I couldn’t even deal with myself and I thank you for dealing with me. To my teachers, not only did you prepare us with what we needed to know but you met us with a lot of love and that does not go unnoticed,” she said. “We know this is a labor of love and you spent a lot of your personal time putting effort into our classes. We appreciate you so much for dedicating so much of your lives to us. We love you.”
Media Contact: Associate Director of Communications Dan Pittman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740.566.0212.
About the College of Health Sciences and Professions
Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) is a place where innovative education and research happen every day. Each year, more than 3,600 students graduate from our Athens and Dublin-based campuses prepared to serve as passionate professionals who are ready to change the world. As one of the largest health-focused colleges in the country, CHSP has a growing portfolio of degree and certificate programs housed in six academic units: the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness; the School of Nursing; the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences; the Department of Social and Public Health; the Department of Social Work and the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies. All six connect faculty and students across multiple disciplines to explore the best approaches to addressing health and wellness in various settings. Find out more at: www.ohio.edu/chsp.