Carson-Newman nursing students receive ‘Blessing of the Hands’

Carson-Newman University’s Dr. Angie Wood, chair of the Nursing Department, fastens a pin to the uniform of nursing student Kelsey Nelson, of Morristown, during the University’s recent “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony.

Carson-Newman University’s Nursing Department held its fall 2019 “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony Friday. The ceremony was held in the university’s Thomas Recital Hall.

Born from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s “White Coat Ceremony,” the event serves as a rite of passage to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of training. Students must first complete three semesters of coursework before the ceremony signifies their advancement into the clinical area and hands-on patient care.

More than a dozen students participated.

“The Blessing of the Hands Ceremony was a step in assuring and motivating us to be the compassionate humans needed in the nursing profession,” said Kelsey Nelson, of Morristown. “It gave me the reassurance that God would be with me through the ups and downs of nursing school and in the nursing profession no matter how hard the circumstances.”

Fellow nursing student and Morristown-native Lisa Peters described the event as giving a new perspective on the next phase of her training.

“I know as a C-N nursing student, I will be held to a higher standard than other universities,” Peters said. “Compassion, empathy and bedside manner are key elements to the nursing program at C-N, and I am ecstatic to instill these elements into the care I will provide in our community.”

Monica Ridenour, a two-time Bronze Star recipient and May 2019 graduate who is now a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Blount Memorial Hospital, spoke to the students about care in the technological age. During the ceremony, students recited the Oath to Compassionate Care prior to a pinning and the Blessing of the Hands.

Funding for Carson-Newman’s ceremony was provided by the Gold Foundation through the generous support of its trustee and donor Elaine Adler. The University was among 50 nursing schools selected in 2018 to launch their first such ceremony.