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Nursing students receive ‘Blessing of the Hands’

Dr. Christine Jones, associate professor of Religion, prays a blessing for the hands of nursing student Tanner Kinkead, of Morristown, during Carson-Newman University’s recent “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony.

(March 2, 2020) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — In an effort to emphasize compassion and patient advocacy, Carson-Newman University’s Nursing Department held its spring 2020 “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony Feb. 27. 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.

This year marks the World Health Organization’s “Year of the Nurse,” recognizing and celebrating the life-saving care nurses bring to communities around the world.

Morristown natives Tanner Kinkead and Summer Gahagan said the ceremony was a poignant reminder of the influence they will make on the lives of others.

“I personally believe we are the hands and feet of Jesus,” Kinkead said. “The ceremony is another way to recognize this as we engage in a servant-centered career choice.”

Gahagan echoed those sentiments: “This ceremony is an excellent way to demonstrate our faith and call to serve others. It’s a blessing that we can start our nursing careers with this memory.

During the ceremony, students recited the Oath to Compassionate Care prior to a pinning and the Blessing of the Hands. Registered Nurse Kim Sexton, a ’97 alumna who serves as the University’s nurse, reminded students that joy in Christ is a wellspring from which they can encourage and lift up their patients.

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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