By: Michael Summers, Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago held its Dedication to the Profession ceremony and reception on October 20. The annual event, which replaces the former “capping” ceremony, provided an opportunity for junior class nursing students, accelerated program nursing students, and dietetic interns to reflect and pledge themselves to their chosen studies and the health care profession, as well as to have their hands blessed by faculty. Following the ceremony at Madonna della Strada Chapel, the School of Nursing hosted a reception at the Donovan Reading Room to celebrate the occasion with students, their families, guests, alumni, faculty and staff.

Kara Podjasek (junior class president), Vicki Keough, PhD, APRN-BC, ACNP, FAAN (dean and professor), Richard Gamelli, MD, FACS (senior vice president, provost of health sciences, and professor), and Ann Solari-Twadell, PhD, RN, MPA, FAAN (associate professor), provided the welcomes for the ceremony. Ms. Renee Thomas, a recent graduate of the School of Nursing and former recipient of the Dean’s Gold Key Award, provided the keynote address. Student representatives from the traditional and accelerated nursing programs and dietetic interns spoke about symbolic aspects of the ceremony and health care profession and provided reflections about their student experiences and decisions to join the Loyola University Chicago, School of Nursing, and health care communities.

Dean Vicki Keough summarized the day’s events saying, “It was a beautiful day at Madonna della Strada as the nursing and dietetic students participated in the “Blessing of the Hands” tradition where they are reminded of the important work in which those hands will be involved as they enter the health care profession. The faculty of the School of Nursing presided over the ceremony and blessed the hands of students and health care professionals within the audience.”

Reflecting on the ceremony and reception, student Kara Podjasek says, “Seeing everyone come together and unite over our passion for nursing was very touching. The Dedication to the Profession ceremony was one of my favorite experiences so far at Loyola, and I will never forget how privileged I am to be part of such an amazing nursing program.”

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