A low hum filled White Concert Hall at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 28 as family and friends waited for new nursing students to fill the front two rows of the auditorium.
Jane Carpenter, the director of the nursing program, welcomed future nurses. She spoke of the difficulties they would soon endure: stiff clinical schedules and long hours spent studying complex material.
The Light the Lamp Ceremony pays homage to Florence Nightingale, an English nurse who practiced by candlelight during the Crimean War. She played a major role in the development of modern nursing. This ceremony is an opportunity for Washburn to recognize its students who were recently accepted into the nursing program, as well as establish the importance of becoming a competent nurse with high moral standards. Each student received a pin to remind them of their obligation to patient care throughout their careers.
Alexander Overbey, senior nursing major, had plenty of advice to give new students about the anxiety that comes with being a nursing student. He admitted that at the beginning of his studies he wondered if he was making the right decision, but quickly changed his mind.
“The hours of studying and the late nights spent at Mabee Library, the frustration and the triumphs all began to make sense,” Overbey said. “This profession becomes who you are as a human being.”
Overbey also speaks Spanish fluently and traveled with a group of college students to Costa Rica last year through the Washburn Transformational Experience program. The experience allowed students hands-on experience in helping to run a clinic that provided a diverse array of health services to the local community. Overbey said that the experience had a profound, life-changing effect on him.
Although the students have only just begun their journeys through the nursing program, they have an idea of the area of specialization they are going to pursue.
“I would like to be a post and pre-operation nurse,” said Sydney Webb, junior nursing major. “I think it will be very interesting and I really like patient interaction.”
Mary VanderPutten, junior nursing major, has different plans.
“I want to be an emergency room or trauma nurse,” VanderPutten said.
Toward the end of the ceremony, future nurses stood and recited the Nightingale Pledge. The pledge states the importance of taking your role as a health provider seriously. Lara Rivera, a lecturer with a Doctorate in Nursing, left students with a quote of encouragement.
“It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it,” Rivera said.