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Graduate Entry Pathway pinning signifies entry into nursing profession

Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing recognizes milestone in advanced nursing practice training

By Sandra Gray

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

September 14, 2021
  • The 2021 incoming Graduate Entry Pathway class
  • The Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing pin
  • Dean Joan Vitello welcomes attendees
  • Jesica Pagano-Therrien, PhD, presents Academic Excellence Award to Maria Karamourtopoulos.
  • Reginald Sarpong accepts Clinical Excellence Award from Dr. Therrien.
  • Community Engagement Award recipient Jillian Steacy and Dr. Therrien
  • Oscar de la Rosa receives the Spirit of Nursing Award.
  • Kourtney Mantyla receives the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students.
  • David Runyan shares the history of the pin.
  • Dean Vitello pinned each student.
  • Oscar de la Rosa was selected class speaker by his classmates.
  • The class recites the Graduate Entry Pathway nursing pledge.

The Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Chan Medical School welcomed 38 newly minted nurses into the profession at its annual Graduate Entry Pathway Pinning Ceremony. The event was held in the presence of family and friends in the Albert Sherman Auditorium and remotely via livestream on Monday, Sept. 13.

“Let me welcome you into our noble profession and congratulate all of you on receiving the pin this evening,” said Joan Vitello, PhD, dean of the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing. Noting that the school is newly renamed in honor of a woman who chose to be a nurse with a spirit of compassion and service to others, Dean Vitello added, “I implore you to embody these as you receive this pin tonight and never forget our mission to take a lead in the health care delivery system.”

A traditional ceremony, the pinning marks a student’s completion of educational credentials necessary for qualification as registered nurses; this is the first milestone on the Graduate Entry Pathway in which further years of study lead to a Doctor of Nursing Practice or PhD in Nursing degree. These terminal degrees qualify graduates to become nurse practitioners and researchers who are leaders in clinical care, education and scholarship.

Class speaker Oscar de la Rosa represented a group that excelled in unusual times as they began their nursing education during a global pandemic. Their shared experiences meeting the challenges that COVID-19 added to an already-demanding accelerated learning experience made reaching the pinning milestone especially rewarding and meaningful.

“We came into this program without having been nurses first, but through hard work and dedication we earned the title.” said de la Rosa. “It’s been an honor to learn from you, an honor to experience this with you and I look forward to growing with you. Now we are nurses. Now we can begin to change the world, one patient, one family, one community at a time.”

De la Rosa was also honored with the 2021 Spirit of Nursing Award. Karen LaCure received the Outstanding Preceptor Award. Maria Karamourtopoulos earned the Academic Excellence Award; Reginald Sarpong was honored with the Clinical Excellence Award; Jillian Steacy received the Community Engagement Award; and Kourtney Mantyla was presented the Student Daisy Award. The second annual Community Partner Award was presented to Veterans Inc.

The class members, who came to the GEP program from diverse personal and professional backgrounds including several career changers, look forward to pursuing a range of careers for advanced practice nurses.

Some will become family nurse practitioners who can provide the full scope of primary care without physician supervision, whether in a group or private practice or community health center. Some will focus on women’s health, global health and caring for immigrant and refugee populations, while others focus on psychiatric mental health nursing and integrating behavioral health into primary care. Acute care specialists will provide the most skilled level of inpatient care in hospital trauma centers, emergency departments and ICUs.

“I want to make a difference,” said aspiring family nurse practitioner Marisa DaSilva. “My plan for my nursing career is to provide competent, compassionate and individualized care to my community. Pinning symbolizes my entrance into a humbling profession. I feel immense pride and honor to be included in the ceremony and to be a part of a group of human beings that put the world before themselves.”

“Including mental health care went a long way in improving patients’ glycemic control and general quality of life,” said Nisha Naik, formerly a clinical researcher working with pediatric patients with diabetes at Joslin Diabetes Clinic. “It demonstrated to me the benefits of incorporating mental health care into standard clinical practice and motivated me to pursue a career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The pinning symbolizes my first step towards this goal.”

The proceedings concluded with Nancy Figuereo leading recitation of the Tan Graduate School of Nursing pledge, adapted from the original penned by Florence Nightingale.

The full ceremony can be viewed on Facebook.

2021 incoming Graduate Entry Pathway class

Israh Abdeljaber
Noah Barkley
Karla Burns
Grace Cheng
Christina Connolly
Michael Daniell
Marisa DaSilva
Maria Davila
Oscar de la Rosa
Emily Helen Dillon
Isabella DiMare
Gianna DiPinto
Nancy Figuereo
Casandra Gale
Edward Glazebrook
Kay-Ann Gunning
Morgan Hill
Courtney Hunt
Maria Karamourtopoulos

Rebecca Litwin
Christy Mangiacotti
Kourtney Mantyla
Heidi Marrier
Nisha Naik
Shirah Neumann
Joshan Niroula
Rachel Odillia
Angela Patterson
Maggie Quinn
David Runyan
Reginald Sarpong
Grace Shaw
Kamaldeep Sidhu
Jillian Steacy
Kayla Thomas
Amelia Toye
Jacqueline Vittum
Jacob Waldman