GEP Pinning Ceremony marks milestone for nursing students with nontraditional backgrounds


20100921 GEP pinning Svensson
Paulette Seymour-Route, PhD, dean of the GSN and professor of nursing, pins Class Speaker Robert O. Svensson Jr., marking a significant milestone in the Graduate Entry Program.


In the presence of family, friends and UMass Worcester leaders, the 29 members of the Graduate School of Nursing’s Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) Class of 2012 took a break from their hectic study- and work-filled schedules to mark a milestone on their journey toward becoming advanced practice nurse practitioners and nurse educators. The sixth annual Graduate Entry Pathway Pinning Ceremony took place on Monday, Sept. 20.

The GEP class, which includes seven men, is a diverse group of adult learners, all with bachelor’s degrees in fields other than nursing. They range in age from their 20s to 50s, and represent many different educational and professional experiences.

Launched by the GSN in 2003 to address the nursing workforce shortage in Central Massachusetts, the GEP is an alternative path into the school’s traditional Master of Science in Nursing Program, specifically designed for adult students who have a baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing. In the first year, students fulfill the pre-master’s coursework required for licensure as a registered nurse in Massachusetts. They then work part-time in the field while they complete the graduate program of study leading to their ultimate goal, the master’s degree that will qualify them to become nurse practitioners and nurse educators.


Graduate Entry Pathway Class of 2012

Lauren L. Abrantes
Nicholas M. Bergeron
Michael J. Carr
Ashley K. Carraher
Jessie M. Christensen
Tiffiny-Jen Cohen
Brian Greenberg
Alison M. Helmuth
Caitlin A. Jolda
Toy A. Lim
Elizabeth A. Menefee
Phylis W. Muthee
Adriane E. Muzzy
Caroline C. O’Donnell
Kristen A. O’Malley
Margaret M. O’Mara
Johanna E. Payne
Pedro Portes
Dorothy H. Shanahan-Roberge
Laura A. Shook-Blandin
Rachel M. Singer
Olaitan B. Sonuga
Alison M. Spar
Robert O. Svensson, Jr.
Douglas M. Urquhart
Jessin Varghese
Meredith M. Walsh
Duncan P. Wellan
Krista A. Wheeler

20100921 GEP award winners
Several students from the Class of 2012 earned awards for distinguished performance. Accepting their awards, from left, Jessin Varghese for community engagement, Caitlyn Jolda and Brian Greenberg for academic excellence, Adriane Muzzy for clinical excellence and Laura Shook-Blandin for “Spirit of Nursing.”


“The accelerated GEP is a new model for nursing education that meets patient and health care needs with an approach that is exciting, innovative and effective,” said Eileen Terrill, PhD, assistant professor of nursing and director of the GEP program. “Students bring their diverse experience, varied educational backgrounds and maturity to the table.”

A rite of passage into the profession and a reminder of the profession’s promise to serve others, the pinning ceremony is a time-honored tradition of nursing programs throughout the world. For GEP students in particular, it marks the completion of the program’s first year of intensely accelerated study and passage of the national exam that will license them as registered nurses. Following the presentation of pins to each student, all recited the pledge, which the GEP Class of 2007 adapted from the historic Florence Nightingale Pledge of 1893. The ceremony also symbolizes advanced knowledge and the opportunity to develop further in one’s nursing role, which is especially appropriate for GEP students as they continue their studies.



“This is an important event for the GSN, as it marks the remarkable accomplishments of 29 incredible individuals,” said Dr. Terrill. “I have watched these students evolve from strangers to the nursing profession, into compassionate, knowledgeable, expert nurses.”

While each student is unique, Ashley Carraher exemplifies the enthusiasm and commitment of the entire class. She always loved health care but wasn’t sure what path to follow, working as an EMT after earning her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Now enrolled in the Adult Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner track, she looks forward to providing patient-centered care in a fast-paced setting such as a hospital emergency room or intensive care unit. “After looking at different schools and curricula, I decided the GEP was the best option for me,” said Carraher, who led her classmates in the pledge. “UMass Worcester offers the benefits of a large, established university with a personal atmosphere. The faculty are approachable, treating students like colleagues.”

At the reception that followed the formal ceremonies, class speaker Robert O. Svensson Jr., formerly an accountant, articulated the mood of the entire class when he said, “This is one of the proudest days of my life!”


The Pledge
Physicians and nurses pledge to serve their community and their profession. Our pledge is adapted from the original pledge developed for Florence Nightingale, which was based on the Hippocratic Oath.
I solemnly pledge myself in the presence of this assembly to practice my profession of nursing faithfully. I will provide care where care is needed and shape the environment in which care occurs so that the promise of caring may be fulfilled. I will center my practice on the welfare of all those in my care honoring the fullness of their humanity. I will hold in confidence all personal mattes committed to my keeping. I will refrain from any action, and will not knowingly take any action, that will do harm. I will maintain and elevate the standards of my profession through reasoned inquiry and faithful scholarship, and by embodying the integrity expected of me by my peers and those I serve.


20100921 GEP pin


About the Pin Design
The pin was designed by a student committee from the Class of 2007. Inside the shield, the column with the entwined snake symbolizes wisdom. Above the shield, the eagle’s wings symbolize protection and the star refers to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is allowed to use that symbol as one of the original colonies. The star also stands for nobility of purpose. The laurel leaves symbolize both peace and triumph. The words “education, research, service, practice” inscribed in the banners surrounding the shield refer to the mission of the Graduate School of Nursing.

Stay Connected with UMassMedNow

For the Media
▴ Back To Top
Section Menu To Top