Berkeley College School of Health Studies honors new generation of health care heroes

The Berkeley College School of Health Studies honored a new generation of health care heroes entering the workforce at a pinning ceremony for its nursing graduates last Friday, at Berkeley College in Woodland Park. The ceremony recognized 28 graduates of the college’s Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Practical Nurse programs.

“Today is a day of celebration for all of your hard work, sacrifice and commitment in becoming nurses,” Jenny Sena, dean, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, said. “Your determination, compassion, professionalism and motivation in never giving up your dreams of helping humanity has prevailed.”

At the ceremony, student and faculty speakers acknowledged workplace challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a critical shortage of nurses and other health care workers. According to a recent article by McKinsey & Co., the United States may face a gap of between 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025.

“The real clinical practice of nursing is challenging, and the modern working conditions in health care are demanding,” Christopher de la Victoria, professor, nursing, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, said. “Staff issues continue to thrive, health care norms and standards continue to evolve — so, continue to be brave.”

“We have become a unique family bound together by the experience of this part of our lives that will continue to mold our future,” Stephanie Santomieri of Glen Rock, an LPN to BSN graduate, said. “The last three years of nursing has been filled with enormous challenges. We’ve lost loved ones, we’ve lost patients and we’ve had sleepless nights when we quarantined from our families. We used trash bags as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) due to the shortage. You are stronger, you are more resilient and you deserve to be where you are today.”