Newman University recognized 18 candidates for their completion of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree during the fall 2020 nursing pinning ceremony Dec. 11 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.
The Newman pin is unique to the university and was designed by the first graduating BSN class in 1984 at what was then Kansas Newman College. Nursing pinning ceremonies date back more than 130 years in the United States.
The fall 2020 ceremony included special restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The university followed the Sedgwick County gathering minimum of 25 people. Newman Chaplain Adam Grelinger, Provost Kim Long, Ph.D., and President Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., prerecorded special messages the students could listen to during the ceremony.
As family and friends were not able to attend this semester’s pinning, the entire event was streamed online via Facebook Live.
Teresa Vetter, director of nursing, said, “Although we recognize this is not an ideal situation, we do value the safety of everyone and feel this was the best option for our graduating students.”
Students, she added, who persevered during a trying year.
“Students this semester have adapted well to the changes,” said Vetter. “Quarantines and illnesses have been the most difficult piece, but the university has done everything possible to provide resources to work with these situations. We have all become much more familiar with Zoom than we probably ever wanted to be.
“Fortunately, students were able to complete their clinicals this semester and therefore gained valuable experience for entering professional practice. The differences in the learning environment hopefully offered prime preparation for entering into a time of much change and adaptation within the health care practice.”
The ceremony also included the naming of the Distinguished BSN Graduate Award. The award is given to a graduating nursing student who has a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average and demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the nursing profession and involvement in the Newman and greater Wichita communities.
The fall 2020 honor was bestowed upon Tatiana Jimenez.
Jiminez is a first-generation student who has spent countless hours volunteering within the community on top of committing to her academic work and staying active at Newman.
In her initial interview into the nursing program, she said her main reason for aspiring for a nursing career is to help others in any way that she can.
At Newman, she worked as a Traditions and Transitions facilitator, assisted with orientation days, was a member of the chorale and helped build sets for theater productions. Her volunteer service in the community included time spent with the Salvation Army, the Lord’s Diner and Wichita public schools.
Jimenez said she was surprised to win the award.
“I know all the things that I had to do while in the program,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that they add up and people notice them. So to be recognized in this way is humbling but great motivation to keep moving forward.”
Her favorite volunteer efforts were for the Salvation Army and its Christmas gift distribution it does each year. Jiminez helped organize the thousands of gifts that poured in from the community to be given to families during the Christmas holiday.
Her time at Newman has left a big impression. She will take away memories of friends and activities and said she will always remember the advice given to her by numerous professors; keep a positive attitude.
She will begin her career on the oncology floor at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis after completing the National Council Licensure Examination in January.
Eventually, she said she would like to teach others the importance of nursing, so furthering her education is something she plans to do in the near future.
The Newman University BSN candidates for fall 2020 are:
- Margret Beach
- Allison Evans
- Leah Gorges
- Mackenzie Hudnall-Ellington
- Tatiana Jimenez
- Emily Kallenbach
- Sabina Lopchan
- Ivonne Luna
- Julie Macy
- Dalena Mai
- Luz Montelongo
- Elizabeth Rivas
- Ashley Shelby
- Logan Shultz
- Estefania Sosa
- Karlea Tanner
- Kylie Wood
- Samantha Zeleny