An eternal optimist, D&E Professor of Nursing Dr. Denice Reese believes in the power nurses have to make a difference in the lives of people, especially those who are in a painful time or point of inflection. Her message to the Class of 2022, “Be That Nurse,” encouraged graduates to go the extra mile, love fiercely and know the impact they may have on those in their care.
As an example, Reese shared a story from her first job out of nursing school in a pediatric intensive care unit. A 4-year-old girl was admitted to have her blood oxygen monitored over night. While nurses prepared for their shift change and report, the parents where required to leave the room. Consequently, Reese’s patient became scared. Searching for a way to help the little girl relax, Reese went to the waiting room and asked the parents if they had anything with them to reassure their daughter they would return to her bedside. They gave her the child’s doll.
Reese said she would never have thought of that story again, except about three years later, after she transferred to the pediatric emergency room, she was working in triage and a vaguely familiar face kept peeking around the doorframe of the room.
“I looked over at her after a bit and said, ‘Can I help you?’ and this little girl said, ‘you are the one who brought me my dolly,’” Reese recalled.
“You may never know what small act done in the course of your day’s work will make an impact, will be remembered, will let someone know that you cared,” Reese said. “You may never know that was your moment of exceptionality. Do extraordinary acts in the course of ordinary days. You will make a difference.”
Reese also reminded the graduates to take care of themselves, so that they can best care for their patients, families and colleagues.
“You, too, will need to love fiercely and work hard,” Reese said. “And the only way to do that in a sustainable way is to take good care of yourself, body, mind and spirit. Eat well, be active, go to counseling if you are struggling with issues you need to resolve or address, and be in communion with your source of spiritual strength.”
The traditional ceremony included the pinning of nursing graduates, rose presentations and a candlelit Florence Nightingale pledge.
Associate in Science nursing degree graduates participating in the ceremony were: Stephanie Beer, Buckhannon; Alaina L. Bess, Shinnston; Hannah Blankenship, Weston; Abrielle Bowley, Hambleton; Kiley Calain, Elkins; Sarah Gillihan, Webster Springs; Kerry Harvath, Clarksburg; Leslie Hipp, Parsons; Karli Hopwood, Elkins; Destinee Isenhart, Beverly; Caitlin Keatley, Marlinton; Melanie King, Parsons; Kylee Knight, Elkins; Pelkin Kwakye, Ashanti, Ghana; Erin Lore, Marlinton; Diana McGee, Belington; Phoebe Riddle, Elkins; and Chelcia Simmons, Buckhannon.
Graduates in the online R.N. to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program participating in the ceremony were: Jennifer Barkley, Harman; and Marlana Pennington, Junior.