Nurses encouraged to walk alongside patients

May 21, 2017

Graduates celebrate with their diplomas at commencement

Mary Blankson, chief nursing officer for Community Health Center, told the Class of 2017 to be recklessly creative and dream big Sunday at Commencement exercises for the School of Nursing at the TD Bank Sports Center.

“We are nurses. We work to instill and restore dignity, even when it means just allowing life to happen. We are present and bear witness to the human experience,” Blankson said. “We create opportunities for families and patients to celebrate, to love, and even at times to mourn."

“That is why this is much more than just a career – it is a passion, a mission, a calling that comes with much responsibility. It is a life filled with character-defining experiences, where each small, seemingly insignificant contact really displays who we are choosing to be as well as who we are hoping to become.”

Blankson was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree for her contributions to nursing and for helping to meet the health care needs of the underserved.

“More than anything, nurses and the stories they inspire are living proof – the evidence – that there is so much more to health care and to people and to society than meets the eye,” Blankson said. “If we don’t continue to maintain focus on our narrative, our story, our journey, and then strive to use that truth to ensure that every individual can receive the care that I believe all have a right to, we may in fact lose sight of where we are going and lose sight of those we took an oath to care for.”

In particular, Blankson has played a key role in the partnership between Community Health Center and the School of Nursing, a relationship that developed the state’s first dedicated education unit in a primary care setting.

“It is only through exercising ourselves outside of our comfort zones and achieving and sometimes falling short that we learn the full extent of our capabilities, and learn to leverage, stretch and strengthen every last fiber of our beings,” Blankson said.

Allison Marie Whitney, who earned her bachelor of science degree, delivered the response of the Class of 2017.

“The truth is, you can become any nurse you want to be,” Whitney said. “You can be the nurse that comforts the mothers and fathers entering a new chapter in their lives. Or who holds the elderly man after his wife has passed away.

“You can be the nurse who is holding the kid going to chemotherapy. Or the nurse who is holding the patient who is recovering from surgery walking down the hall. You can be any nurse you want to be because we have the skills and we have the knowledge and we have the compassion to make a difference one patient at a time.”  

Overall, 200 students received Bachelor of Science degrees from the School of Nursing on Sunday.

Last weekend at Graduate Commencement exercises, 75 students earned Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees from the School of Nursing.

This weekend, Quinnipiac University will confer 1,709 bachelor’s degrees in six schools and colleges – Arts and Sciences, Business, Communications, Engineering, Health Sciences and Nursing. More than 100 academic programs are offered at Quinnipiac’s three campuses in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut.

Quinnipiac is a dynamic, three-campus university where professors who want to know students by name come to teach, and where students who want a personal, challenging education come to learn.

Located in Southern New England, Quinnipiac’s top-rated academics, low faculty-to-student ratio and Division I athletics are just some of the reasons why it is consistently ranked among the best universities by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. It is one of 100 universities to have both a law school and a medical school with the opening of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine in 2013, and its Polling Institute is respected by media organizations around the globe.

Faculty members are experts in their fields and generous with their time. The university prepares undergraduate and graduate students for success in business, communications, engineering, health, education, law, medicine, nursing and the liberal arts and sciences. More than 100 programs are offered to 6,784 undergraduate and 2,884 graduate students.

Throughout its rich history, Quinnipiac has remained true to its three core values: high-quality academic programs, a student-oriented environment and a strong sense of community.

The university is hosting 10 Commencement ceremonies, including our inaugural ceremony for the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine and the first ceremony for the newly formed School of Engineering.

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