Posted by Sean Flynt on 2010-05-14

Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing graduated 84 students in its 2010 commencement May 14--35 with the Bachelors of Science in Nursing Degree, 31 with the Master of Science in Nursing Degree and 18 with the Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree.

The school's graduation activities began at 10 a.m. Friday with the traditional Pinning Ceremony in Samford's Reid Chapel. The intimate and personal event, with students in their crisp white uniforms, gathered senior undergraduates and their families for the presentation of pins designed by Samford's first nursing class in 1974.

School dean Nena F. Sanders noted that the ceremony common to schools of nursing originated with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, and represents something distinctly different from the commencement ceremony. Where commencement certifies academic achievement in the field, she said, "pinning focuses on the art of nursing" and is akin to ministerial ordination ceremonies.

The emphasis on that art and its implication of personal ministry echoed in the comments of all of the students and faculty who spoke at the ceremony.

Loved ones did the actual pinning as Sanders read the graduates' words of thanks and announced their immediate career plans. All will take their professional licensing examinations this summer, and the ceremony's featured speaker, nursing professor Barbara Money, emphasized that 100 percent of the class of 2009 passed their exams.

The school's Commencement for all nursing graduates began at 3:30 p.m. in Samford's Wright Center Concert Hall. During the ceremony undergraduate Sarah Michelle Franklin of Taylorsville, Ga. was honored with The President's Cup for earning the highest academic grade point average among the university's graduating seniors. Franklin also earned the school's Sigma Theta Tau International Award. Brianne K. Davis of Huntsville, Texas, earned the Agatha Hodgins Nurse Anesthesia Award. Teresa P. Stanford of Amory, Miss., earned the Lucille Stewart Beeson Nursing Award.

James L. Harris, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, brought the 2010 commencement message. He listed many technologies and business models currently facing obsolescence and went on to describe the many ways healthcare is expected to change in coming years.

Harris mentioned the information technology that recently allowed him to look up and offer medical information while standing in line at a grocery store, the revolution in "drive-by" technology that is reducing recovery time for many surgical procedures and the rise of online degrees.

Harris said the 2010 graduates will be entering a profession also shaped by what he called a "new nomenclature," including accountable care organizations, the medical home, guided care, comparative effectiveness, meaningful use, fully integrated healthcare systems and, of course, healthcare reform.

Harris singled-out Samford's Doctor of Nursing Practice program as representative of the innovative ways nursing education is growing, and urged graduates to pursue that degree. He also invited them to consider a looming demographic revolution in the profession. "The average age of registered nurses today is 48," he said. "In the next five years more than 50 percent of registered nurses in the United States will be eligible to retire from the workforce."

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.