What does it mean to be a nurse?
"Being a nurse encompasses the whole person. It involves the mind, the heart, the soul and the drive. Though not always pleasant, being a nurse is the comprehension that we as professionals and as individuals have the power to change someone's life,' said first-year nursing student Chantel Barry.
"Being a nurse means having a calling to help others above all else, and the spirit to see beauty in life despite the suffering,' added Barry's classmate Dana Stevenson.
Barry and Stevenson, along with fellow first-year students Adrienne Bedard and Ben Courtney, shared their thoughts with their peers at the second annual Level 1 Professionalism Pledge Ceremony for the McMaster Mohawk Conestoga Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program on April 2.
The event sees first-year nursing students make a public commitment to professionalism in their nursing studies and practice. The pledge represents each student's entry into the nursing profession and their lifelong commitment to uphold the values and standards of the profession, such as confidence, integrity, optimism, passion, and empathy.
Around 160 students stood together and recited the pledge, promising to "demonstrate the professional behaviours reflective of a learner committed to developing myself as a professional nurse within all learning environments and the global community.'
Catherine Tompkins, associate dean of Health Sciences and director of the School of Nursing, said ongoing learning is key to being a professional, adding, "There's not a day that goes by that I don't learn something new from the people I interact with.'
Lynda Bentley Poole, a nurse for over 30 years and an assistant professor of nursing at McMaster, said with the annual pledge ceremony students celebrate both the end of their first year and also "a commitment to the spirit of nursing,' which is "the drive to make a difference in the lives of others.'
Patrick Chiu, a fourth-year nursing student graduating in June, also spoke to the crowd.
"I've learned that being a nurse takes a lot more than helping people. It means being a professional,' said Chiu. "I want to be a nurse that exemplifies what a professional is.'
The Level 1 Pledge Ceremony takes place at the Mohawk and Conestoga sites on April 3.