Carson-Newman University holds Blessing of the Hands ceremony for nursing students

Carson-Newman University nursing student Emileah Buffalo, of Morristown, extends her hands as Dr. Christine Jones, associate professor of religion, prays during the Blessing of the Hands ceremony held Feb. 11 in Thomas Recital Hall.

Carson-Newman University held its spring 2021 “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony Feb. 11 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, which signifies their advancement into the clinical area and hands-on patient care.

Forty-one students, including the following, recited the oath and received a blessing as they began their clinical area of study: Lauren Allen, Kendall Shinlever and Jenna Starkey, of Jefferson City; Seth Arrowood, of Newport; Madison Bowman, Emileah Buffalo, Karrah Franklin, Arleth Guerrero, Luis Hernandez, Savannah Reedy and Gracie Thompson, of Morristown; Cherish Campos, of Paris; Alondra Gonzalez and Lindsay Janik, of Talbott; Caroline Hazelwood, of White Pine; Lauren Hensley and Alexis Nibbe, of Strawberry Plains; Rayshell Olebe, of Dandridge; and Alyssa Rose, Tabatha Tucker and Hannah Turley, of Rutledge.

Jenna Frost, assistant professor of nursing, shared with these students how their hands will perform life-saving tasks and bring comfort and peace to patients and their families during turbulent times. During the ceremony, students recited the Oath to Compassionate Care prior to receiving their pins and the Blessing of the Hands.

“We have Blessing of the Hands each semester to bless the work nursing students will do as they begin clinical training,” Frost said. “It is very special to me, because as a nurse, I know a nurse’s hands hold the power to heal physically, mentally and spiritually.”

The department took several precautionary measures for this semester’s ceremony due to the pandemic. Students picked up their pins instead of a faculty member pinning them to their uniforms. The blessing took place corporately instead of individually while students were seated socially distanced throughout the auditorium.

In addition, the event was not open to friends and family, but may be viewed on the University’s YouTube channel.

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.