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Ceremony gives UHV nursing students first look at vocation

Students in the University of Houston-Victoria Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program gather in a circle and raise their hands in honor of the future patients they will serve during the 2014 Hands of Caring Ceremony. The ceremony welcomes Second Degree BSN students to the nursing profession. The 2015 ceremony will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Susan Ryon Davis Multi-Purpose Room of Brazos Hall at UH Sugar Land, 14000 University Blvd.

SUGAR LAND – Nursing is a profession centered on caring for others, and students new to the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing soon will get their first look at what that entails.

The 2015 Hands of Caring Ceremony will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Susan Ryon Davis Multi-Purpose Room of Brazos Hall at UH Sugar Land, 14000 University Blvd.

“The Hands of Caring Ceremony is something special that we do for students who are just beginning to study nursing,” said Kathryn Tart, dean of the UHV School of Nursing. “It helps introduce them to the profession.”

The ceremony began as a way to welcome Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing students into nursing, Tart said. Other professions have welcoming ceremonies, and about five years ago, the UHV School of Nursing decided to start a ceremony of its own.

“We wanted to showcase what makes nursing special,” Tart said. “We went to a lot of induction ceremonies for different fields and eventually developed the Hands of Caring Ceremony.”

The Second Degree BSN program allows individuals with a bachelor’s degree in another field to become nurses in a year after earning the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. All students in the program start in January with a December graduation date.

Ceremony attendees are given a tour of the school’s facilities and laboratory. They also listen to presentations by members of the school’s faculty about caring in the nursing profession. The ceremony ends with a reception. This year, the school is expecting 67 students and their families to attend.

“We invite their friends and family to come, and they are able to see where students are learning at UH Sugar Land,” Tart said. “It’s important for students’ families to understand what they are doing, and going through in the nursing program. We’ve had children come to see where their parents are studying. Families even come from out of state.”

As part of the ceremony, faculty members will discuss three topics centered on caring in the nursing profession. “How to care for your students with Classroom and Clinical Learning,” presented by assistant clinical professors Sandra McNeely and Patricia Schrader, will address ways families can support their students. “Technology in the Curriculum,” by assistant professor Lisette Barton, will point to the school’s emphasis on innovation in caregiving. “Technology and Caring,” by assistant professor Shainy Varghese, will focus on research that allows nurses to better care for patients.

For Houston Minshew, who graduated from the Second Degree BSN program in December, the 2014 ceremony was a positive experience that made her feel welcome.

“It’s a great tradition for the school,” Minshew said. “I left feeling like I had more of an understanding of what nursing is about. I especially like how the importance of caring is emphasized. It’s a good way to explain the impact of nursing and put it in perspective.”

An event such as the Hands of Caring Ceremony can have a large impact on students, Tart said. In addition to giving a formal introduction, it makes them feel welcome and supported.

“I know from listening to other parents how meaningful the ceremony was because it helped them to understand what their student was doing in nursing school,” Tart said. “It helps students be successful because they know they are being welcomed, and their families better understand how to support them.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.