Nursing Students rise to the Occasion

May 26, 2021

Smiles. Applause. Photos reflecting on the past year. All of these were part and parcel of a traditional commencement ceremony for the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) held in quite a non-traditional time.

“Although each graduation ceremony is momentous, this is now the third virtual conferral of degrees in our 132-year history,” said Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, as she welcomed graduates and their families to a May 20 virtual ceremony. “I am certain that we will always remember how we gathered to recognize the many accomplishments and achievements of our spring 2021 graduates. It goes without saying that nursing, at its very core, is a profession marked by a deep dedication and commitment to ensuring the health, the safety, and the well-being of our patients and our communities. However, the events of the past 14 months, our national and global struggle to combat COVID-19 give additional meaning to this dedication.”

The last year, Kirschling said, is “a reminder that nursing does not have the opportunity to pick and choose its moments of service. But rather, it must always be on the ready to respond.”

Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, 447 nursing degrees and certificates were conferred, including 212 bachelor’s degrees, 92 master's degrees, 12 certificates, and 131 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.

Kirschling thanked those who have worked on the front lines of the pandemic, and in particular the 442 students who chose the early exit option in 2020 and 2021 and those students who have volunteered to serve in other capacities.

“And to all of our students, you have successfully persevered during a difficult time, completed your studies, and earned your degree. All while balancing multiple demands and stressors. You have my deepest respect and that of all of us for your efforts and your hard work,” she said.

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