The next generation of caregivers: 35 earn nursing pins, 26 earn white coats at Mount ceremonies

December 18, 2019

Mount Saint Mary College pinned 35 nurses on Saturday, December 14.Mount Saint Mary College honored 35 graduates of its prestigious Nursing program at a pinning ceremony on Saturday, December 14. 

Fr. Gregoire Fluet, chaplain and director of Campus Ministry at the Mount, blessed the pins, which were presented to the graduates by chosen family members and friends. The Mount Saint Mary College nursing pin displays the college seal and motto, doce me veritatem, which translates as “teach me the truth.”

“May they always seek the good of their patients and make service the reality of their lives,” said Fr. Fluet.

Dr. Jason Adsit, president of the college, commended the students on a job well done. “You should be very, very proud of yourselves,” he said, adding their future patients would be “in the hands of unbelievably well trained, caring professionals.”

The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Andrea Ackermann, professor emerita of Nursing. Ackermann taught at the Mount for nearly two decades and retired at the conclusion of the Fall 2018 semester. The beloved professor was instrumental in the success of the Class of 2019.

“This is a call to you, the newest members of our profession, to infuse joy into your nursing,” she said to the graduates. “I wish you joy…in your new profession.”

Alessandra Rinaldi of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. offered her reflections on the group’s journey from novices to graduates. “This has been one of the most difficult, but also one of the most rewarding journeys in our lives,” she said. “Not everyone can genuinely care for a stranger and treat them as if they were family, but with everything I’ve witnessed during our journey together, I can say that we all have what it takes to be exceptional nurses.”

The graduates were thankful for the mentoring of the Mount’s nursing professors. Natasha Girard of Fishkill, N.Y., recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau Leadership Award, applauded her professors for their tireless dedication: “I want to thank my professors and clinical instructors, who helped guide and inspire me to achieve success,” she said.

The graduates were also full of praise for their families. Doria Mairead of Granite Springs, N.Y. dedicated her pin to “the loves of her life,” her husband George and her son Hunter Harrison. “Thank you for understanding that this is a calling for me and about evolving as a person so I can make a difference in the world. I am forever grateful for you unwavering support through this journey.”

Susan LaRocco, dean of Mount Saint Mary College’s School of Nursing, recognized several students for excellence in their studies and dedication to the field.

In addition to Girard, award recipients were:

  • General Excellence in Nursing Award: Wendi Bean of New Paltz, N.Y.
  • School of Nursing Clinical Excellence Award: Michael Gorey of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.
  • School of Nursing Leadership Award: Payal Thaker of Danbury, Conn.
  • Spirit of Nursing Award: Sophy Otieno of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
  • Perseverance Award: Tunicia Ward of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

To close out the ceremony, the proud graduates recited “A Nurse’s Prayer,” which speaks of dedicating one’s life to helping others.

New nurse practitioners honored

A day earlier, on Friday, December 13, nearly 30 students of the Mount’s nurse practitioner program were recognized at a white coat ceremony, which reflected the transition from novice nurse to the professional nurse practitioner role.

The ceremony reflected the transition of the novice nurse to the professional nurse practitioner role. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who provide high quality healthcare services. They can diagnose, treat, and prescribe across a wide range of health problems.

According to Christine Berté, associate professor of Nursing, director of the graduate Nursing program, and chairperson of the college’s School of Nursing, Mount nurse practitioner graduates began their journey as registered nurses in a variety of settings and can now enter primary care practices, including family health and internal medicine. They may also practice in acute care settings, such as hospital positions and urgent care/fast track health access points.

“Coupled with the compassion and experience in nursing that they already possess, advanced practice nurses have become one of the most valued groups of healthcare providers in today’s society, and are continually making a significant impact on the nursing profession,” she explained.

Two students were recognized for excellence in their studies and skills: Sonya McMillan of Montgomery, N.Y. received the 2019 Sigma Award, and Alexandra Gavalo-Yacco of Carmel, N.Y. was presented with the Sr. Leona DeBoer Graduate Nursing Award.

Fr. Fluet closed out the ceremony with the Blessing of the Hands.