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Senior Nursing Students Receive Saint Anselm Pin

April 22, 2017

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

On Saturday, April 22, 66 senior nursing majors received their Saint Anselm College nurse's pin in the annual pinning ceremony in the Abbey Church. Friends, family, students, alumni, faculty, and staff were in attendance to celebrate the nurses' completion of Saint Anselm College's rigorous nursing program and their preparedness to serve as compassionate caregivers.

Dating back to 1860, the pinning ceremony is a proud moment for the student nurses as they are welcomed into the nursing profession.

Dr. Maureen O'Reilly, the executive director of nursing, provided the opening remarks for the ceremony by congratulating the seniors and highlighting the importance of the pinning ceremony.

"Your pin will forever mark you as a Saint Anselm nurse," O'Reilly said. "You have the distinction of graduating from a rigorous program with a foundation in the liberal arts and Benedictine values."

"These are the values that you will bring to the bedside, along with the knowledge and skills you have mastered. You will be wonderful nurses," added O'Reilly.

Senior Sara Peppler of Hamilton, Mass. was chosen to represent her class as the student speaker.

"What makes our program different from most is that we have learned how to integrate both the technical and spiritual aspects of nursing into our practice," Peppler said, echoing Dr. O'Reilly's earlier sentiment. "We have been trained to perform medical tasks: find pulses, take blood pressures, and do other medical procedures. We have also been given the gift of holding hands or grabbing shoulders of people who need something to ground them as they receive terrible news."

As sophomores, the nursing students had their hands blessed before beginning their clinical experience. Peppler connected that sendoff to her own experiences in the field, and the patients her hands have touched and impacted since that day.

"I once tested a newborn's grasp reflex, and realized that my hand was the first one she ever held. I will never forget feeling her tiny fingers wrap around mine; a blessed connection in her very first moments in the world," said Peppler.

"These same hands have rubbed lotion onto the hands of a 104-year old woman in the final hours of her life," Peppler added. "As I cleaned her fingernails for the last time, I thought of how many people have held those hands before me: her children, her husband, her mother-all those who loved and knew her through her whole life. Here I was, as a 21-year-old student, the last person to ever share that connection."

Peppler, who is currently completing her preceptorship at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, closed by thanking her professors, saying: "You have truly touched us, and we can only hope to have that same power in what we touch as nurses."

Saint Anselm Nursing Pinning 2017

Blessing of the Pins

The nurses' pins were blessed by Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B., and presented to each graduating senior by Dr. O'Reilly and several nursing faculty: Professors Karen Grafton, Ann Fournier, and Caryn Sheehan.

The design of the pin, proudly worn by all Saint Anselm nursing graduates, features a shield and includes elements from the official seal of the college. The symbol of the lamp refers to Psalm 119:105, "Your word in a lamp of my steps and a life for my path." The inscription, Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini, means "The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Nursing professors Kathleen Cahill and Laurie Bennett also assisted in the ceremony by presenting the students with flowers.

Presentation of Awards

Carroll Bailey was recognized with the Dr. Joanne K. Farley Award, and Courtney Puccio was awarded the Student Nurse Leader Award in memory of Dr. Joyce Clifford.

The Dr. Joanne K. Farley Award was created to honor Dr. Joanne K Farley, a 31-year member of the Saint Anselm College community. Dr. Farley represented the true nursing spirit of caring, leadership, and selfless service on the local, state, and national levels. According to Dr. O'Reilly, who presented the honor, Bailey "exemplifies" the attributes inherent in the purpose of the award.

The Student Nurse Leader Award in memory of Dr. Joyce Clifford was created to recognize a student who embodies the qualities of Dr. Joyce Clifford, who was a compassionate, dedicated, visionary leader in the nursing profession. Dr. Clifford was a trustee of the College and one of the first graduates of the nursing program. She was inducted into the Fellowship of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), the highest honor in nursing. She developed primary nursing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston in the 1980s. She was a true nursing leader, as well as a supporter of nursing at Saint Anselm College.

The student nurses then took the Nightingale Pledge, an oath to honor and respect their patients and profession.

Following the ceremony, Father Benedict Guevin, O.S.B. celebrated Mass, and Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. gave the homily.

Full Remarks



Story by Christine Balquist '17 and Jonathan Burkart '18

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