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UMFK student nurses honored at pinning ceremony and ready to enter profession

May 2, 2003


Twenty-one University of Maine at Fort Kent nursing students received their nursing pin, signifying their official entrance into the profession, at a ceremony held May 8, in the Fox Auditorium.

The number of students marked the second largest class in the nursing division's twenty-two year history. The only larger graduating class was in 1996, when 22 students received their nursing pin.

Faculty, staff, and students, along with family members and friends of the graduates, gathered to honor the recipients of the bachelor of science degree in nursing.

The pinning ceremony is traditionally held during National Nurses Week. The theme for this year's pinning was the National Nurses Week topic Lifting Spirits and Touching Lives.

Students who received their nursing pin were Renee Albert, Fort Kent; Carol Bates, RN, Houlton; Sylvia Bean, RN, Lancaster, Pennsylvania:, Sherrie Bonenfant, Fort Kent; Regina Camargo, RN, Presque Isle; Patricia Carlson, RN, Randolph, Maine; Tonya Cornish, RN, Machias, Maine; Caroline Cyr, Van Buren; Bernadette Dempsey, RN, Surry, Maine; Karen Desjardins, St. David, Maine; Stella Dion, RN, Dresden, Maine; Marie Doyle, RN, Plainville, Massachusetts; Jennifer Hay, Presque Isle; Sandra Hebert, Fort Kent; Christine Malone, Smithfield, Maine; Melissa Marshall, Wallagrass; Jill Michaud, Madawaska; Gina Miranda, Madawaska; Heidi Roy, Presque Isle and Vicki Voisine of Eagle Lake.

Rachel Albert, associate professor of nursing and chair and director of the nursing division addressed the nursing graduates and welcomed them into the profession.

The professor told the graduates "they were extremely fortunate to become a part of a cadre of professionals who are committed to improving the health and welfare of individuals worldwide".

"Each of you will enjoy working with professionals who share a concern for other people, a desire to help others, as well as a talent for touching lives. Nursing is a profession that truly integrates intellectual pursuit, social activities, and human empathy - it's never just another day in the office," said Albert.

This year's keynote speaker for the pinning ceremony was Lisa Theriault, MSN, ARNP, assistant professor of nursing at UMFK.

Theriault's topic was Florence Nightingale, often called the mother of nursing or "Lady of the Lamp", who was a pioneer in the use of statistics in health care and more importantly, she strived to develop public health policy through the adoption of better sanitation.

"Although Florence Nightingale lived over 140 years ago, I believe there are many similarities with her professional values and her abilities when compared to today's professional nurses," said Theriault.

She acknowledged that the future nurses, on their path to earning their baccalaureate degree in nursing, have completed courses in the humanities, arts and science, have developed critical thinking abilities, become effective communicators, have demonstrated leadership abilities, become researchers and most importantly a technically skilled practitioner and professional.

"Whatever you do with your nursing future, always remember the past, Florence Nightingale, and the present, UMFK, allowing these accomplishments to influence where you are going," said Theriault. "One thing is certain about the future; change is inevitable in health care and nursing is in a position to facilitate those changes."

She concluded, "Each of you can make tremendous efforts to facilitate the best possible changes for the future of nursing and mankind."

Prior to her position at UMFK, Theriault was a full time family nurse practitioner at Horizons Health Services at various locations including Limestone Health Center, Presque Isle Health Center, and Horizons Occupational Health Center. She continues to work for them on a part-time basis.

She held a position with Visiting Nurses of Aroostook from 1992 through 1995. She also served as an RN in the medical/surgical unit, emergency room and education departments at Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent from 1991 through 1994, where she conducted numerous workshops on domestic violence, men and women's health issues, and women as caregiver.

She has instructed courses in Adult Health I, Acute Care; Adult Health II, Chronic Care, Adult Health III, Complex Care, Pharmacology and Holistic Nursing Assessment.

Theriault received her master of science degree in nursing from the University of Maine in 1995, her bachelor of science in nursing from UMFK in 1991, and her bachelor of arts in biochemistry from Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts.

She has continued her education attending seminars, workshops and courses throughout her career and has recently been accepted at the University of Arizona at Tucson in the PhD program and will begin classes this summer.

Theriault has also been published when her article, "Collaborating with the Nutritionist", appeared in Nurse Practitioner Secrets in 2002.

She was inducted into the Honor Society of Nursing in 1998, was voted NMMC's nurse of the year in 1992, was listed in the Who's Who Among College & University Students in 1991, and Who's Who Among High School Students in 1980.

Theriault is a member of UMFK's Peer Review Committee, the Student Conduct Committee and the Campus Assessment Committee. She serves on the diabetes advisory committee at NMMC. She is also a member of PATCH (Planned Approach to Community Health) and an alternate on CHER (County Health Education Resources).