The School of Nursing celebrated the graduating class of 2022 at their graduation ceremony in the Smith Center Thursday.
The graduation class received congratulatory acknowledgments from the undergraduate student speaker Kayla Barnes, the graduate student speaker Jillian Marianos and the keynote address from April Kapu, the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Officials also awarded thirteen students in the class for their excellence during their time at GW.
Pamela Slaven-Lee, the interim dean of the School of Nursing, said the graduating class of 548 students should be proud of their hard work to reach the graduation “milestone” and the ceremony is meant to recognize their accomplishments.
“You’ll be joining a community of extremely distinguished GW graduates who came before you,” Slaven-Lee said.
Kayla Barnes, the undergraduate student speaker, said her time in the United States Army and at GW provided her with valuable lessons like using her nursing skills to help families through their most vulnerable times.
“The nursing community is gaining some of the finest trained and prepared individuals that will have such a positive impact on the lives of the patients and the communities that we serve,” Barnes said. “No matter where each of us ends up.”
Jillian Morianos, a family nurse practitioner candidate and the graduate student speaker, said starting her master’s program in the middle of a pandemic while also working as a full-time nurse was challenging, but she treated nursing like a vocation for a greater purpose in life rather than only a profession.
“Nurses do not see their profession as acts of heroism but rather compassion, caring and advocacy,” Morianos said. “As nurses we have the responsibility to be trusted in every aspect of our patients care across the lifespan.”
She said through special shared moments during nursing, like the celebration of a patient’s cancer remission, she learned the value of human life. Morianos said the opportunity to graduate from GW gave her the tools to promote health care and professional development.
“This profession has pushed me to see this black and white world through a gray lens and provided a privileged insight into the complexity and vulnerability of humanity,” Morianos said.
Majeda El-Banna, the interim senior associate dean for academic affairs, presented thirteen students with academic awards including four clinical excellence awards, five outstanding student awards, the Pam and Joe Jefferies Nursing Innovation Award, the Virginia Future Nurses Association award, the Paul Tschudi Memorial Scholarship Character award and the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Student.
“We are pleased to have several outstanding award winners to recognize today,” El-Banna said.
April Kapu, – the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, associate dean for clinical and community partnerships at Vanderbilt University, acute nurse practitioner and the keynote speaker – said the graduating class’ dedication to the future of nursing and healthcare is “remarkable” and the students now have the education and training to succeed in the field.
She said the graduating students have a “valuable” role to play in creating connections with communities to easily access vital healthcare services.
“As a nurse, student, and a nurse practitioner I hold dear many moments when I’ve had the honor to learn more and to help create a better and brighter space for patients,” Kapu said.