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Nursing students prepare to provide compassionate care

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Carson-Newman University nursing student Hunter Creech, of Morristown, and his classmates sit socially distanced throughout the Thomas Recital Hall as Dr. Andrew Smith, associate professor of religion, prays during the Blessing of the Hands ceremony.

(Oct. 15, 2020) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Carson-Newman University's Nursing Department held its fall 2020 “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony Oct. 8. The ceremony was held in the University’s Thomas Recital Hall.

Born from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation's “White Coat Ceremony,” the event serves as a rite of passage to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of training. Students must first complete three semesters of coursework before the ceremony signifies their advancement into the clinical area and hands-on patient care.

Nearly 30 students participated.

“I was really inspired by the Blessing of the Hands ceremony,” said nursing student Hunter Creech, of Morristown. “Throughout listening to the speakers, it really hit me that through this career I have the opportunity to really make an impact in someone’s life when they are going through a tough time. I don’t want to take that for granted. This ceremony really motivates me to want to be the best nurse that I can be.”

Jenna Frost, associate professor of nursing, shared with students how their hands will perform life-saving tasks and bring comfort and peace to patients and their families during turbulent times. During the ceremony, students recited the Oath to Compassionate Care prior to receiving their pins and the Blessing of the Hands.

The department took several precautionary measures for this semester’s ceremony due to the pandemic. Students picked up their pins instead of a faculty member pinning them to their uniforms. The blessing took place corporately instead of individually while students were seated socially distanced throughout the auditorium.

In addition, the event was not open to friends and family, but may be viewed on the University’s YouTube channel.

Funding for Carson-Newman's ceremony was provided by the Gold Foundation through the generous support of its trustee and donor Elaine Adler. The University was among 50 nursing schools selected in 2018 to launch their first such ceremony.

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and has over 2,700 students. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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