More than 200 future nursing professionals, their families and their professors gathered for the annual University of Houston School of Nursing “Hands of Caring Ceremony.” The event is the official welcome for new students to the School of Nursing’s Second Degree BSN program, an intensive one-year program for students who already have degrees in other areas, but want to become nurses.
More than a gathering, the ceremony underscores the significance of the hands that care for us: our parents, our friends, our professors, our community, our donors and our health care professionals.
“This special ceremony emphasizes the many ways these students have been supported by caring hands and how they will support others as nursing professionals with their own caring hands,” said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the School of Nursing.
During the ceremony, new students stand in a circle, their family and friends form an outer circle and their professors the inner circle. They’ll first hold hands with their family and friends, the first hands that supported them as they grew from infant to child to adult. Next they’ll shake hands with their professors who will guide them through studies, simulation practice and clinical rotations. Finally, they’ll hold the hands of their fellow students, who will be their colleagues through school, new careers and a lifetime of friendships. Then, with hands held high, they’ll pledge to use their hands in care for those who are vulnerable, who are ill and who are struggling.
“Their hands will care for people throughout their lives. That’s a privilege, and we are privileged to have them here at the UH School of Nursing,” Tart said.
Friends and families toured the School’s Simulation Lab, a multidisciplinary, hospital-based center providing hands-on clinical simulation training in a realistic environment. The lab consists of high-fidelity simulators that include Sim Man, Sim Baby and Sim NewB to simulate real-life clinical scenarios. The state-of-the-art facility offers a clinical setting where nursing students and health care professionals train through simulation, observation and debriefing for real-life clinical crises.
In a presentation, Tart shared information regarding demographics of the 2017 class. Students entering the rigorous, year-long program have degrees in other areas, but have chosen now to become nurses:
- 76 percent have a Bachelor of Science; 16 percent have a Bachelor of Arts
- 3 percent of the class have master’s degrees
- 15 percent of the students are male
The majority of student received their degrees from higher education institutions in Texas. Eight percent received degrees from out-of-state institutions.
The School of Nursing also boasts a diverse class of students:
- 23 percent Asian
- 22 percent Hispanic
- 11 percent African American
- 42 percent Caucasian
- 2 percent Native American