February 28, 2017

The University of Sioux Falls School of Nursing today welcomed 50 new students to its Traditional and Accelerated Nursing programs in its first-ever White Coat Ceremony.

“We are proud to produce some of the best nurses in the region and beyond,” said USF President Brett Bradfield. “Nursing graduates are exemplary of USF’s commitment to its motto of Culture for Service because they take not only scientific skills to their profession but also Christian compassion. This program’s quality, including top-notch faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, is evident.”

Dr. Jessica Cherenegar, Director of the School of Nursing, congratulated the incoming students on their admission, and said this event marks the beginning of their new endeavor.

“In a highly competitive academic area such as nursing, it is important to take pause and acknowledge the accomplishment of simply gaining entrance into the program,” Dr. Cherenegar said. “Nursing school changes your life. The individuals we celebrate today will transition from our students to our peers and from novice students to novice nurses—prepared to commit themselves to a life of service and dedication to excellence in healthcare and patient advocacy.”

The nursing program's 96 percent pass rate exceeds the national rate by 10 percent and is among the highest in the state.

Further, students receive incredible, hands-on opportunities to gain experience while in school. This January, for example, a group of nursing students traveled to Columbia in South America to dispense first aid kits, educate individuals on taking medications correctly and provide medical and preventative care to families.

“I went into this trip hoping to transform people’s lives, but looking back on the trip the people of Colombia ending up transforming me instead,” said Jessica Houser, a student currently in the nursing program. “I was able to pray with many, I cried with a few, and I loved them all.”

In just seven years of operation, USF has graduated 342 students who are currently helping meet the critical demand for nurses in the state, region and nation.

USF’s incoming Traditional Nursing students include:

Jordan Achterberg, Bria Barfnecht, Kylie Boston, Molly Briney, Mary Christian, Kaitlyn Dybdahl, Cassandra Gilster, Emilee Horning, Jacey Huinker, McKinley Johansen, Annelise Kruse, Mackenzie Lutmer, Brandi Mitchell, Jacie Nieuwendorp, Chessa Novotny, Johanna Nyenhuis, Mataya Otten, Anna Peterson, Tyler Slaba, Nathanial Spawn, Brennan Waltner and Katie Wieneke.

USF’s incoming Accelerated Nursing students include:

Olivia Amundson, Britney Arauz, Alisa Arend, Patrick Bodnia, Devon Brecke, Alison Chau, Ke Chen, Hailey Clark, Melissa Eccher, Zachary Ferdinand, Rachel Gapinski, Breonna Hartfiel, Jessica Hoffert, Jessica Horton, Danielle Jensen, Ann Keller, Jonathon Keller, Katelyn Mallory, Ezekiel Matthews, Jennifer Pipitone, Michael Raba, Nicholas Schwedhelm, Nailejilej Siocha, Kelly Stephens, Nathan Taylor, Katelyn Toomey, Lyndsey Watzek and Joseph Whalen.

In 2014 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing partnered with the Gold Foundation to adopt a White Coat Ceremony for nursing in order to recognize the vital role nurses play in the healthcare team. More than 200 schools of nursing nationwide now participate, and the number continues to grow.

About USF’s School of Nursing              

USF established its School of Nursing in 2008 and today offers three programs of study: An accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program sequenced over four semesters designed for students with a previously earned bachelor’s degree in an area other than nursing; a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and an online RN-to-BSN degree program.

About the University of Sioux Falls

A growing, transformative university committed to academic excellence and the development of mature Christian persons for service to God and humankind in the world, the University of Sioux Falls offers more than 90 undergraduate programs and adult and graduate offerings in business, degree completion, education and nursing, as well as the Center for Professional Development. For more information about USF, visit www.usiouxfalls.edu.

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