Staff throw special ceremony after COVID-19 cancels nurse graduation

Nurse manager Dan O’Flynn with graduate nurse Jasmine House.

In a year of cancellations, Westmead Hospital staff have gone out of their way to creatively celebrate the graduation of three student nurses.

University of Sydney students Patrick Mendoza and Peri Ileto and University of Notre Dame student Jasmine House were all disappointed that after years of study, COVID-19 put a halt to their much-anticipated graduation ceremonies.

And so Westmead Hospital respiratory ward staff decided to hold their own improvised, unique and safe ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

Nursing unit manager Matthias Langer performed the Master of Ceremony role while division two nurse manager Dan O’Flynn was the stand-in Chancellor.

“We hand-made the black mortarboards (hats) and recognition certificates, which were also disinfected, and improvised by holding the ceremony in the ward where they could bring one friend or family member while maintaining physical distancing,” Matthias said.

“It’s a special time in their lives and careers when they graduate from university and gain qualifications to become registered nurses.”

Patrick said it meant a lot to him and he appreciated the recognition from his peers and colleagues, and Jasmine was delighted her best friend was able to join in the special occasion.

Peri’s mother was unable to attend as her flight from the Philippines was cancelled, but he was able to send her photos and videos from the ceremony.

Congratulations and welcome aboard!

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