GEP Pinning marks a path to the future for nurses

Convocation Week opens with a milestone for graduate nursing students

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

September 12, 2012

In the presence of family, friends and faculty, 32 members of the Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) Classes of 2014 and 2015 in the Graduate School of Nursing were honored in a tradition that signifies their readiness to become registered nurses. The GEP Pinning Ceremony kicked off Convocation Week 2012 at UMass Worcester on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m.

This year’s pinning, the GSN’s eighth, included the first five members of the GEP’s newest component, the GEP to DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Pathway.

The GEP was established by the GSN in 2004 to address the growing nursing workforce shortage by giving entrance into the profession to individuals with bachelor’s degrees in fields other than nursing. Students first become registered nurses after one year of accelerated coursework, and then continue graduate study to earn master’s or doctoral degrees that qualify them to become nurse practitioners, nurse educators and nursing executives.

Presented upon completion of a whirlwind 15 months of hands-on learning coupled with rigorous academics, the custom-designed pin each GEP student received symbolizes professional achievement and personal pride. Several GEP students also received awards for distinguished performance. Stephanie Connors was recognized for academic excellence; Molly Moulton and Holly Shumard for clinical excellence; Alexander Menard for embodying the spirit of nursing; and Susan Hernandezfor outstanding community engagement.

The ceremony concluded with the class’s recitation of a nursing pledge, adapted from the one originally created for Florence Nightingale, which is based on the Hippocratic Oath. The event proved to be emotional and meaningful—even for the children in the audience who sat quietly as the rituals of pinning and oath-taking unfolded before them.

“We love to see children at the pinning because GEP students’ entire families support them in their journeys,” said Eileen Terrill, PhD, associate professor of nursing and director of the GEP Program. “Perhaps the experience will influence some of them to someday, like many GEP students before them, follow in their family members’ footsteps and become the next generation of advanced practice nurses.”

Dr. Terrill underscored the influence of family involvement when she asked the nurses in the audience to stand and be recognized. Seven of them were family members of students, including the mother of class speaker Kristin Hennessy. In addition to her mother, Hennessy gave shout outs to all students’ family members, and to the entire GSN faculty, which includes a newly minted GEP alumnus. After sharing reflections on the past year from several classmates as well as her own, Hennessy closed by exhorting her classmates to puff out their chests and pat themselves on the back. “We’re nurses now!” she declared.


Graduate Entry Pathway Class of 2014

Monica R. Andrade

Cassandra Carlson

Terrance Clarke

Nicole Coggins

Lindsey Comer

Stephanie D. Connors

Kathleen Cooney

Rachel M. Diamondstone

Sarah C. Gulla

Julia E. Hankin

Christina Hanzis

Kristin J. Hennessey*

Susan M. Hernandez

Brett Johnson

Hea-Young Kim

Sarah Lee

Madeleine T. Maguire

Abigail M.K. Mathews

Reid McMullan

Alexander Menard

Molly Moulton

Joanne Nhan

Joan M. O’Connor

Stephanie Pierce

Kaitlen A. Reyes*

Molly Z. Rivest*

Allison Rumore

Holly A. Shumard

Christine Smaldone*

Michael J. Spiros

Peter A. Vecchiarelli

Bronwyn Williams*

*Member of GEP to DNP Pathway Class of 2015

The Pledge

Physicians and nurses pledge to serve their community and their profession. The GSN’s pledge is adapted from the original pledge developed for Florence Nightingale, which was based on the Hippocratic Oath.

“I solemnly pledge myself in the presence of this assembly to practice my profession of nursing faithfully. I will provide care where care is needed and shape the environment in which care occurs so that the promise of caring may be fulfilled. I will center my practice on the welfare of all those in my care, honoring the fullness of their humanity. I will hold in confidence all personal mattes committed to my keeping. I will refrain from any action, and will not knowingly take any action, that will do harm. I will maintain and elevate the standards of my profession through reasoned inquiry and faithful scholarship, and by embodying the integrity expected of me by my peers and those I serve.”

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