In the spirit of commemorating the success of our 2021 graduates and in compliance with social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) hosted its first ever outdoor Pinning and Recognition Ceremony on May 07, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. at Southern Methodist University Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
“Congratulations Baylor nurses! As these amazing students now embark on their professional journey the administration, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing are incredibly proud of you,” said Linda Plank, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Dean, LHSON. “As we read in Matthew 25:21 in the parable of the three servants, ‘The master was full of praise. Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.’ Let’s celebrate together.”
This was LHSON’s first year to be joined by members of the United States Army. The U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing also known by its acronym USAGPAN is one of many Army-Baylor programs. This Doctorate of Nursing Practice program is three years in length, with graduates testing for certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). LHSON in academic partnership with USAGPAN, admitted its first Cohort in the summer of 2018. Those students were LHSON’s first graduating USAGPAN Cohort in May 2021, and will now serve as CRNAs, in their respective Army and VA Healthcare systems. Serving as the Pinning and Recognition Ceremony keynote speaker was Dr. Denise Beaumont, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired). Col. Beaumont served as the USAGPAN Program Director until recently retiring form the U.S. Army.
Highlighting the special day, the LHSON shared several special recognitions. The Learn.Lead.Serve. Award was presented by Dean Linda Plank to two students who most exemplified the core mission of the Baylor LHSON, Breana Rucker, FastBacc® and Casey Sellers, Traditional BSN. The second recognition included the 2020-2021 Student Daisy Awards presented to Breana Rucker, FastBacc® cohort and Alyssa Zuercher, Traditional cohort. Dr. Plank also awarded the 2020-2021 Faculty Daisy Award winner to Dr. Lina Nguyen.
Additionally, an award given to the students who presented the most Outstanding DNP Project. The winners included: Captain Logan Hirsch, Captain Ben Lease, Captain Allison Martin, Captain Alyson Ochs [OH-CHS], and Captain Melissa Ouellette [WEE-LET] for their group project titled "A Quality Improvement Project to Evaluate the Impact of a Clinical Guideline to Increase First-Line Antibiotic Use in Surgical Patients."
Sponsoring various awards, The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation presented the Program Director Outstanding Scholarly Project award given to: Captain Aynsley Butler, BSN, RN and Captain Jacob Poore, BSN, RN. The AANA Foundation also sponsors the Program Administrator’s Outstanding Student Research Project Award, CPT Brandon Krawczky (CROZ-CHECK).
Further recognition included the Highest Ranking for the Spring 2021 Graduating Class (Traditional & FastBacc) included: Olivia Paré, Traditional student with a nursing school GPA of 3.98 (Cum 3.99) and Katayun Hocott, FastBacc® with a nursing school GPA of 3.96 (CUM 3.96).
During this festive occasion, nursing students received their nursing school pin and cords prior to Baylor University Commencement in Waco. Each pin is distinctive; and for the nurse, it also symbolizes honorable completion of a rigorous and physically demanding nursing program. The cords signify membership into Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society and for the Baylor Student Nurses Association.
The presentation of Undergraduate pins was presented by Dr. Beth Hultquist, Clinical Associate Program and FastBacc® Coordinator; Graduate pins and hoods were presented by Dr. Kristi Feutz, Associate Dean for Online Graduate Program and USAGPAN pins and hood were presented by LT. COL Richelle Demotica, Deputy Director, USAPAN. Class addresses were given by Jemima Ng, Breana Rucker and Captain Julianne Bieniek (BEE-IN-YECK).
The ceremony offered a Blessing of the Hands given Dr. Sahr Mbriwa, Chaplain, LHSON. The special message represented the blessing of our nurses to be the hands of Jesus to bring comfort and healing to those they care for, and a dedication to a ministry of caring. The memorable day concluded with a group of graduating seniors who led the audience in singing “That Good Old Baylor Line.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY LOUISE HERRINGTON SCHOOL OF NURSING
The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) located in Dallas, Texas, was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor Scott & White Health’s Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1952, establishing the School among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in Texas. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the School. The LHSON offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees through Traditional, FastBacc® (one-year accelerated) and Distance Accelerated BSN programs. Plus, the LHSON offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with tracks that include Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Executive Nurse Leadership and U.S. Army Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN). The U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Graduate Schools rankings include several LHSON programs, including the DNP program at No. 60 nationally and “Best Nursing” specialty rankings for LHSON’s USAGPAN, which operates at the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, at No. 8 nationally, and Baylor’s Nurse-Midwifery program, which is No. 21 in the nation. To learn more, visit www.baylor.edu/nursing.