Rolling Out the Red Carpet for New Students

For UMKC’s Week of Welcome, the School of Nursing and Health Studies students got back into the swing of things with a number of activities on campus. Week of Welcome is a campus-wide initiative uniting new and returning students to celebrate the university’s vibrant campus life energizing them as they transition to the new semester.

The week kicked off August 11 with the White Coat Ceremony. The ceremony is a rite of passage for incoming nursing students and marks an important first step on their road to becoming a nurse. Central to the ceremony is the recitation of the Student Nurse’s Oath, a vow to provide compassionate care for their patients. The vow UMKC’s nursing students read is actually unique to the school as it was written by Amber Charleville, a 2016 alumna. More than 200 family and friends of the students were on hand to witness their pledge.

The 89 students who participated received their white coats and a ceremonial pin that serves as a visual reminder of their oath and commitment to providing high quality care. The white coats will be crucial for their time at UMKC because they’ll put in 1,200 clinical hours while at the university, an experience that will prove indispensable once they enter the nursing workforce.

New to the day’s activities, the school held a recognition ceremony for the student’s Very Important Support Personnel, aka VISPs. These are individuals the students identified who will play critical roles in supporting them throughout their educational journey, whether it be parent, spouse, best friend, or others. The ceremony provided the 113 VISPs in attendance a snapshot into the demands of the nursing curriculum, to give them a better idea of what the students’ lives will be like in the coming years.

After the ceremony the real preparation for school began with the Success 4 Nursing program later that week. The three-day orientation gave the students an opportunity to network with peers, faculty and staff and fills their scholastic toolbox with what they’ll need for their path to becoming a nurse.

Those tools for success include critical thinking skills, in-class learning and how a Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat (SWOT) analysis can be key to success in nursing school. The students also got an opportunity to meet with alumni and students further along in the program in a Q&A session on the profession and what to expect as a student.

Jim Spence, Bachelor of Nursing program director, then discussed test taking strategies. He also explained the difference between knowing the answer versus applying the answer. As Spence often says to his students – and sometimes to his own kids – “I know how to slam dunk a basketball, that doesn’t mean I can.”

Spence knows well that what students gained during the week will stay with them throughout their education. “Success 4 Nursing is just a small taste of what is ahead for students over the next few years,” said Spence. “It is our hope that the foundation for a new way of learning is set so they can take the enthusiasm from this week with them throughout school and into their future careers.”