Saint Anselm Senior Nursing Majors Receive Nurse's Pin

Senior nursing students process into the Abbey Church

Today was a special day for 83 senior nursing majors as they received their Saint Anselm nurse’s pin in the 2014 pinning ceremony in the Abbey Church.

A tradition dating back to 1860, the pinning ceremony is a proud moment for student nurses as they are welcomed into the nursing profession. It is a celebration of the student’s completion, symbolizing their preparedness to serve as a compassionate caregiver.

Senior nursing students process into the Abbey Church

“The pinning ceremony presents you with the mark of your school, so all will know that you have become part of the proud nursing alumni at Saint Anselm College,” said Dr. Sharon George, dean of nursing.

“Today we want to honor you for choosing this challenging and rewarding profession and for the difference you will make in the lives of your patients.”

Senior Alexandra Lagoutis of Orange, Conn., was chosen to represent her class as the student speaker.

Lagoutis said she was honored and excited to have the opportunity to speak at the event.

“The tradition of pinning is a beautiful way to bridge the role of student to professional, and to be reminded of the significance of our education and the unique and meaningful impact it will have on both our practice and our lives,” says Lagoutis.

In her remarks, she urged her fellow nursing students to remember what it means to be a Saint Anselm nurse.

“Our practice will be propelled by compassion; by the willingness to channel Florence Nightingale and create an environment of healing,” she said.

“To challenge, to question, to research; to think holistically, to advocate, to care, and to comfort; to hold hands, and share Popsicles. From this day forward, we are not just nurses, we are Saint Anselm nurses.”

The nurses' pins were then blessed by Father Augustine Kelly, O.S.B., and presented to each graduating senior by Dr. George and several nursing faculty: Professors Karen Grafton, Ann Fournier, and Margaret Walker.

The pin, proudly worn by all Saint Anselm nursing graduates, features elements of the college seal and the symbol of a lamp referring to Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp of my steps and a light for my path.”

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

Following the ceremony, Father Anselm Smedile, O.S.B., celebrated Mass.

Full Remarks


Dr. Sharon George, Dean of Nursing

"The nursing pin has been both literally and symbolically a cross to bear, a medal and a badge. Nursing is a cross to bear for those of us who remain with the patient long after others have given up hope and gone home. Nurses never forget about their patients even when they are not caring for them physically, they remain in their thoughts, remembering always that they are caring for someone's mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter, and that these people are counting on them to do for their loved one what they themselves cannot do."

Alexandra Lagoutis '14, Student speaker

"As nursing students, we spend countless hours working. There are late nights, early mornings, papers, projects, and exams. Lectures can be long and exhausting, clinical can be an overwhelming whirlwind of rules, regulations, and a game of where on the unit is your instructor. But then, there are moments that we have making it all worth it. Patients that smile and say thank you. Patients that tell you you’re going to make a great nurse one day."

Program: Student Acknowledgments & Faculty Reflections


Sophomore Nursing Students Begin Clinical Experience with Blessing

Saint Anselm College's Blessing of the Hands ceremony in the Abbey Church

“You begin your clinical experience in a very Benedictine way,” said Fr. Anselm, O.S.B. on Friday night, Jan. 25 as he blessed the hands of 94 sophomore nursing students preparing for their first clinical experience in the coming weeks. The annual Blessing of the Hands ceremony in the Abbey Church is a meaningful step for students on their journey to becoming nurses.

Saint Anselm College's Blessing of the Hands ceremony in the Abbey ChurchEach member of the nursing class of 2015, sporting his or her new navy scrubs, approached nursing faculty where they were given their blessing while Fr. Anselm reminded students that God will guide them today and every day throughout their careers as nurses.

In his address to both students, faculty, and visiting parents and friends, Fr. Anselm reminded the group of the first words of the Rule of Saint Benedict.

“Listen to your heart,” he said, “St. Benedict said to be open, be receptive, and whenever you begin a good work, you must first begin with prayer.”

Students had mixed emotions about the start of their clinical experience, which begins the first week of February. Breanna Harper '15 described the experience as “both nervous and exciting,” she said, “working with real people will definitely take some getting used to.”

Matthew Zacchilli '15 admitted, “dealing with medicine is going to be a little scary, but I am definitely more excited than nervous.”

Brittany Taylor '15 said that the blessing made her “really nervous and excited because the blessing means that clinicals are getting closer,” but that she is totally okay with her uniform. “I love my scrubs, I want to wear them every day!” She said with enthusiasm.

The Blessing of Hands was followed by a reception in the lower church, full of families congratulating their sons and daughters and students wishing each other good luck with the start of their clinicals.

Anselmian Compassion in Action
Following the Blessing of the Hands ceremony on Friday, a sophomore student was distressed to learn that her parents, who flew in from California, had unfortunately missed the ceremony by an hour. In hearing the student's sad news, the nursing department faculty immediately returned to the upper church to reenact the ceremony for the student and her family including senior nursing student Lauren Boyce who re-read her speech.

"The faculty prayed over the student and, although quick, the moment was real and very moving," said nursing professor Caryn Sheehan.

"At that time, I was bursting with pride to know that I work with such kind and thoughtful nurses. Many people talk about caring and serving Christ, but these nurses (and one nurse-to-soon-be) actually acted with their hearts. I think that they really made a difference [tonight] and should be recognized," said Sheehan.

Senior Nursing Class Receives Saint Anselm College Nursing Pins

Nursing students after the ceremony

On April 28, a beautiful spring Saturday in New Hampshire, 69 nursing students of the class of 2012 received their Saint Anselm College nurse’s pins. Joined by family and friends, the students wore their traditional nursing caps and celebrated the completion of a highly respected and rigorous nursing program in the Abbey Church.

Nursing students after the ceremonyThe pin, featuring the college’s official seal and the symbol of a lamp, refer to Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp of my steps and a light for my path.” It symbolizes our nurses’ preparedness to serve as compassionate caregivers. Sharon George, dean of nursing, with the help of Karen Grafton, the program coordinator, pinned each nursing major with the Saint Anselm pin to wear for the entirety of their career.

Following opening remarks by Dean George, student speaker Carly Staab described a particularly significant clinical shift and reminded her nursing class, “Embrace differences, learn from one another, and be kind to one another. Do not underestimate the effect of caring words, a genuine smile, or a reassuring touch.”

During the ceremony, student Kelly Lenehan received the Joanne K. Farley nursing award for best exemplifying the qualities of the nursing program’s former director of nursing. Fr. Augustine Kelly, O.S.B., dean of the college, blessed the pins. Fr. Anselm Smedile, O.S.B., was celebrant and Fr. Benedict Guevin, O.S.B., gave the homily. A reception in Cushing Center followed the mass.

In talking about the ceremony, Staabs says it was beautiful: “It is such an incredible tradition and I feel blessed to have been provided the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Nursing Alumna Lisa Kennedy Sheldon '78 Interviewed on NECN

Lisa Kennedy Sheldon '78 discussed the confusion set off by a government panel's new recommendations on mammograms. She appeared on NECN on Thursday, Nov. 19, during the news network's "Affairs of State" segment.

Sheldon says the panel's recommendations are surprising because they are an abrupt change from those set in place in 2002. Despite the new recommendations, she emphasizes that women should speak with their own health care providers to determine what is best for them.

Sheldon is an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses focusing on oncology nursing and cancer care.

Link: Lisa Kennedy Sheldon on NECN