RUTHERFORD, NJ - While they’ll have to wait until September for their official “pinning” ceremony, a new crop of graduates representing the 57th graduating class of Felician University’s School of Nursing filled seven different screens May 12 as they took part in an online ceremony launching their nursing careers.

Since its inception more than half a century ago Felician has trained some 6 thousand nurses who are now out in the community, hospitals, senior centers, and nursing homes working on the front lines of the Pandemic.

Speaking directly to the current public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, Felician’s President Dr. Anne Prisco told the graduates that in years to come they’d look back and know that they “stepped up and adapted to a really difficult time in our history.”

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“You will be able to tell your family, friends and maybe your children someday about what this experience was like for you, and how you rose to the occasion.” 

Pointing the significance of the day for the profession, as the virtual graduation ceremony was held on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, Nursing School Dean Dr. Christine Mihal reminded the graduate that Nightingale volunteered at a hospital that was filled with patients suffering from cholera, a disease which at the time had no cure. By doing so, she was exposing herself to a potentially fatal disease. 

“Sound familiar? Florence didn’t have the benefit of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) but if it existed you can be sure that she would have been a proponent of it, and of its importance for nurses.”

Nursing Instructor Amy Giordano urged the graduates to think beyond bandages and charting, urging them to remember what it was like to be a nursing student, “and embrace and encourage the nursing students you encounter.”

“Please take the time to teach them. They will never forget, they will walk away thinking to themselves. That's the kind of nurse, I would want to be.”