By Amanda Boundris
The McMaster School of Nursing held its third annual Professionalism Pledge Ceremony for first-year students on April 8.
About 140 students from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program participated in the event at Convocation Hall where they recited and signed a promise to "demonstrate the professional behaviours reflective of a learner committed to developing myself as a professional nurse within the global community."
The pledge represents each student’s entry into the nursing profession and their lifelong commitment to uphold the values and standards of the profession, such as confidence, integrity, optimism, passion, and empathy.
Olive Wahoush, assistant dean of undergraduate nursing education, said signing the pledge is an important step because the student nurse becomes part of a profession and a community. She told the group: "You will establish the norms for those who will follow behind you."
Catherine Tompkins, associate dean of Health Sciences and director of the nursing school, said that with nurses being amongst the most respected professionals in Canada, "trust is a huge part of being professional."
She cautioned the new nurses: "The trust that patients and the public have in nurses is so precious. Trust is something we must all work to maintain because it’s so easy to lose."
Monica Polania graduated from the program in 2012 and has worked for the past 10 months as a registered nurse at Grand River Hospital. "As a professional nurse, you will eat, sleep and breathe this role," she said, encouraging the students to "treat this title with care."
A number of students taking the oath spoke to the crowd about their experiences over the first year of studies and what professionalism means to them. One of them was Holly Fisher, who said: "I know nursing is not only going to be my profession, but a way of life."
Pledge ceremonies also took place April 8 for students at the Mohawk College and Conestoga College sites.