Eighteen nursing graduates, along with their family and close friends, gathered for the spring nursing pinning ceremony Friday, Dec. 9, in Newman University’s De Mattias Performance Hall.
Each semester, the nurse pinning ceremony marks the transition from student nurse to professional nurse.
Students who complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree receive the Newman nursing pin. The token of achievement displays the images of a cross as a nod to Newman’s Christian heritage and a lamp that pays homage to the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
As President Kathleen S. Jagger welcomed those in attendance, she shared compliments from the former head of Ascension Health:
“He told me, ‘I wish we could hire all Newman nursing graduates. And the reason is that they get it. They understand that the point of the nursing profession is service to others,’” Jagger said.
Teresa Vetter, director of nursing at Newman, echoed those sentiments and praised the 2022 nursing class for their exceptional work.
Vetter challenges her nursing students to collaborate on a quality improvement project each semester. The goal, she said, is to define best practices in nursing and identify areas for improvement in order to prevent possible errors.
“Health care, specifically nursing, is rough right now,” Vetter explained. “There are a lot of problems that need to be fixed. I told this group … that I was so pleasantly surprised by how well they brought their knowledge forward, sought out literature to support the evidence and then how creatively they came up with ideas to support what changes could take place.”
She continued, “In nursing, it’s those people who are willing to look at the small problems and creatively come up with solutions — that’s exactly what’s going to allow us to change the big problems in the future.”
“I am so proud to have these students representing Newman University in the workforce,” Tyrell said. “Nursing is not an easy profession, but these graduates are dedicated and willing to step up to the challenges ahead.”
It’s Tyrell’s hope that each student will experience “lightbulb moments” in their nursing practice, knowing that their Newman professors prepared them for any challenge that may come their way.
“I hope that in good times and bad, they remember they’re are caring for a human being who deserves to be cared for, by showing them empathy and God’s love,” Tyrell said. “I hope that by practicing in a professional, competent and safe manner they can be an advocate for their patients, themselves and the profession.”
Distinguished BSN Graduate Award
The Distinguished BSN Graduate 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.
This year’s honor was awarded to Victoria Schmeissner.
At just 16 years old, Schmeissner earned her Certified Nursing Assistant certification. She fell in love with the idea of working in a health care setting, and knew it was the next step for her.
Now, having received her nursing pin during the fall 2022 graduation ceremony, it all feels “very surreal.”
“When you’re younger, you work up to this and then it’s finally here,” Schmeissner said. “All this practice and preparation goes into graduating from the nursing program, but to actually go out and do it and help others is really the exciting part.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 1 million Kansans — or one-third of the state’s population — live in rural communities. Tyrell emphasized that having increased access to healthcare should be a top priority for all future nurse practitioners, and Schmeissner hopes to serve those who are particularly vulnerable to increased health disparities.
“Victoria is a very bright young lady with tremendous clinical judgment skills,” Tyrell said. “I believe what really sets Victoria apart is her passion and commitment to making a change in the lives of those living in rural communities.”
Schmeissner’s nominator shared that she not only excelled academically at Newman, but also in service to others through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County. She was also selected as the 2022 Iota Chi Award winner for Sigma, the international honor society of nursing.
Although her time at Newman University is drawing to a close, Schmeissner will always look back fondly on the memories made in her tight-knit classes, alongside her mentors and in her involvement with the Newman chorale and Nursing Club.
Schmeissner plans to take the NCLEX in January and will start working at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis in the cardiac intensive care unit.
Congratulations to the graduating nursing class! The Newman University BSN candidates for fall 2022 are:
- Selia Avila*
- Priscilla Bianchini*
- Teresa Bush
- Savannah Cardinale
- Rachel Choate
- Kylee Clark
- Madison Gibbs
- Aliyah Good
- Rebecca Hageman
- Marisol Huerta
- Reagan Kalp
- Kassna Prince
- Victoria Schmeissner*
- Allyson Vanatta
- Peyton Wayman
- Lauren Weippert
- Adam Wood
- Breanna Zarchan
*Sigma National Honor Society
Earn a Nursing Degree
The Newman University Nursing Program educates students to be a generalist and lays the foundation for graduate school.