Nursing students from the Class of 2020 recently got a huge surprise when Carroll University nursing faculty delivered yard signs to their homes hailing them as “New Nurse Heroes.”
Dr. Teri Kaul, chair of Carroll’s nursing department, and eight other nursing faculty truly went the extra mile to deliver each sign. For Kaul, it took 14 hours and 500 miles to deliver signs to Carroll’s nursing grads in Illinois. “They were so surprised to see us show up,” she said. “By about the seventh sign, the word got out that we were on the road, and the students and families were waiting for us. We had mothers and students crying over the gesture. It was really fun and provided some closure for us and the students.”
Additional nursing faculty delivering signs were Sue Schneider, Kathy Sampson, James Mikolajczak, Eva Nitka, Afsaneh Jahnan Peyan, Rachele Mead, Virginia Riggs and Jill Switalski.
Natalie Hartwig, one of the Class of 2020 nurses honored, was thrilled with her sign, saying it gave families another way to celebrate. She already is looking forward to starting her new job as an ICU nurse in West Allis. “I really enjoy being able to spend more time with my patients,” she said. “I like being able to provide that one-to-one care.”
Faculty crisscrossed Wisconsin and Illinois to deliver more than 90 signs, from Waukesha to Waukegan, Illinois, from Little Chute to Chicago, and from to Sheboygan to Sun Prairie. Only two students, who were not within driving distance, received their sign by mail.
Dr. Kaul developed the idea. “We wanted to come up with some special way of recognizing our students, not only for graduating, but for entering into a profession that is so necessary right now,” she said.
This year, the American Nurses Association expanded National Nurses Week, traditionally celebrated annually from May 6–12, to a monthlong celebration throughout May to “expand opportunities to elevate and celebrate nursing."