- February 19, 2023 16:41
By John Vincent C. Cruz and Ma. Recellina Lafue
For the first time in two years, Far Eastern University Institute of Health Sciences and Nursing (FEU IHSN) conducted the 66th Capping and Candle Lighting Ceremony last September 22 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nursing Department agreed to mount this year’s ceremony face-to-face instead of a virtual event after surveying the students’ preferences.
“Long live, the walls we crashed through.” This is the chant that the Nursing Batch 2023 uttered as they celebrated the start of their clinical internship.
Conceived during the pinnacle of her career, renowned singer-songwriter Taylor Swift wrote 'Long Live' to recognize the unwavering dedication and hard work of her fans and crew, giving credit for taking her life to great heights.
Like Swift, the 530 attendees reminisced on their journey so far. After two years of acing their tests in the online setup, the aspiring nurses are finally ready to apply what they have learned into practice.
The intimate event is a tradition among Nursing students, routinely conducted during their second year in college. Unfortunately, due to unexpected circumstances of the global health crisis, all forms of social interaction came to a halt—including the anticipated ceremony.
As the event finally came to fruition, the nursing students could not help but express their excitement over the news that it would be held at the PICC.
“I feel privileged and grateful that it was held here,” Noelle Miranda, one of the attendees, highlighted.
Aside from the long-standing desire of students to push through with the event, FEU Nursing Society (FEU NurSoc) President Pauline Palad owes it to her team and all of the people involved in making the ceremony possible.
“Kahit na mahirapan kami na magshift ng project proposal from online to onsite, pinush through talaga namin (Even though it was difficult for us to shift the project proposal from online to onsite, we really pushed through),” the student leader recalled.
With the theme “The Light of Tomorrow: 21st Century Nurses Conquering the New Normal,” the ceremony was graced by the presence of guest speaker Dr. Drexel Heinz Cruz, a faculty member of IHSN and an alumnus of the University.
“Every end is a signal of a new beginning. Every ‘sayang’ is a chance to prove yourself,” he affirmed.
Citing nurses as ‘the heart of healthcare,’ Dr. Cruz received a standing ovation from the attendees as he emphasized the importance of self-improvement. These remarks deeply resonated with the student nurses, given that the degree program itself is not for the faint-hearted.
NurSoc Public Relations Officer Cheneline San Pedro shared that the lack of clinical and onsite exposure had greatly raised self-doubts and concerns among students, making them think that they may not be capable of doing their job.
“I believe most if not all of us still have that icky and anxious feeling of what is to come. We're still in the process of doing so [bouncing back],” the student leader said.
Since their future profession revolves around helping those in need, the dilemma of not having social interaction was a huge impediment to their overall learning experience.
Passing the torch
One of the significant moments of the ceremonial rites was the pledge to Florence Nightingale, a key figure in the world of modern nursing. She endured many nights of hopelessness in the middle of war and famine, yet remained steadfast and exemplary in fulfilling her clinical duties.
Faculty Associate and former Vice President of FEU NurSoc Renlyn Delos Santos, RN, portrayed the luminary during the lighting of the student nurses’ lamps.
Together with her batchmates, Palad relates to Nightingale’s advocacies in being closely involved with the sick and needy, weaving together their collective initiative to greatly improve Filipino lives.
“Sobrang sarap sa puso na parte ka ng pagkabuhay at pagkamatay ng isang tao (It’s so heartwarming to be part of a person’s life and death),” the FEU NurSoc President stated.
Nightingale remains the epitome of perseverance amidst challenging times—an attribute that the student nurses have been well-familiar with since the start of the pandemic.
After the student nurses received their white caps and pins—a symbol of purity, cleanliness, and new hope, these individuals look forward to their clinical experiences.
“I feel like we are much more obligated to do our responsibilities and to be one with our profession and advocacy,” Miranda noted.
This moment officially marks the beginning of a brand-new chapter for the emboldened student nurses. Fueled by a mixture of excitement and apprehension, the hopeful proteges are about to face one of the most important phases of their collegiate journey—ultimately shaping them into noble and adept medical practitioners. Despite the lingering threats and challenges to public health, these light-bearers' hearts are full of optimism to devote themselves to serving the Filipino people.