University of Portland nursing graduates and student-nurses are heroes in their own right, delivering critical care and hope day after day. Often at the peril of personal safety and individual vulnerabilities, placing patient needs ahead their own. This is stated with clarity in the opening paragraph of the School of Nursing’s website: “We are a strong community dedicated to educating nurses and health care professionals who empower patients, families, and communities to embrace healthy living and strive for wellness. […] We believe that all nurses are healers, advocates, and health care leaders who believe that social justice lies at the head, heart, and hands of all that we do.”
For 85 years the University has dedicated itself to educating students for the nursing profession. Beginning in partnership with St. Vincent Hospital Training School for Nurses (1934), on-site classrooms and training at the hospital moved to the UP campus in 1960. Internships and practicums continue to reach beyond campus, while the School of Nursing prepares candidates with care and attention through a rigorous curriculum and the expanded computer-modelled Simulated Health Center in the Buckley Center.
As students progress from classrooms and labs to on-site clinical training at hospitals and care facilities, the transition is marked by ceremony as well. Into the mid-1970s, the Capping Ceremony occurred during Junior Year when students received their nurse’s cap and promised themselves to the values of the Nightingale Pledge. Today, students at the half-way point receive a blessing with oils handed on by nursing faculty in a “Blessings of Hands” ceremony.
During graduation weekend every UP graduate receives an earned diploma. In addition, nursing students participate in a more personal commissioning. With faculty and family present, each nursing graduate receives a UP School of Nursing pin. At the Pinning Ceremony each student is individually recognized and “pinned” by a person (faculty member or loved one) who has been a significant influence on their academic success.
The modern nursing professional no longer wears caps and capes (like a superhero) as their uniform, but their actions and service have marked them as heroes with their sharply trained minds, open hearts, and healing hands as advocates, healers, and leaders for all who seek medical care.
History of Nursing Digital Collection