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KU School of Nursing welcomes new students to its Kansas City and Salina campuses

A new class of nursing students begin their journey with the Dedication to the Profession ceremony

The hands of a person wearing a white coat hold a paper program open.
Nursing students all over the nation mark entry into the profession with the donning of white coats and reciting a dedication to their work as nurses.

On August 18, new students at the University of Kansas School of Nursing donned their white coats for the first time at the school’s annual Dedication to the Profession ceremony, which took place in the Health Education Building on KU Medical Center’s Kansas City campus.

Of the 134 incoming students, 114 will study on the Kansas City campus and 20 will be on the Salina campus. Eleven percent are first-generation college students, and the Salina campus has its largest entering class since its inception.

Students were buzzing with excitement and pride three days before their first classes. While each student has their own reason for choosing nursing, many said it was their passion for taking care of people that called them to the field.

“I want to be the one to give people hope in their greatest time of need,” said Abigail Spencer, a first-year nursing student from Shawnee, Kansas.

For Alex Lim, a first-year nursing student from Dodge City, Kansas, it was his grandpa’s battle with Alzheimer’s that inspired him to pursue a career in nursing.

“When he passed away, it left a really big impact on me, and going to nursing school feels like a way to repay all the things he did for me,” Lim said.

A group of 20 students wearing white coats over formal attire stand facing the camera
More students than ever before will be attending the KU School
of Nursing at the Salina campus, which continues its expansion.

Leaders from KU School of Nursing and across KU Medical Center welcomed students and spoke on how important nurses are to the health care industry, especially as many communities are battling a shortage of nurses.

“You are incredibly welcome and needed amongst our health care community,” KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor Robert D. Simari, M.D., said. “Rarely does a day go by when we aren’t discussing the critical need for nurses in this country — and you are representing the best and brightest who are going to serve our community going forward.”

KU School of Nursing Dean Sally Maliski, Ph.D., FAAN, told students that their choice to become a nurse will be more impactful now than ever before.

“In a time of transition such as we have experienced and are experiencing, the chance to make a difference and reshape what comes next is boundless,” she said. “Nurses at all levels need to step up, be heard and make a difference in the future of health and health care.”

Frankie Wagoner, BSN, a registered nurse who graduated from KU School of Nursing in 2022 and now works as a nurse for The University of Kansas Health System, gave the keynote address. Wagoner told new nursing students about all that she’s learned in her first year after graduation, and how much she still learns with every day on the job.

“Not only will you help your patients physically, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually and so much more,” Wagoner said. “I’ve had patients cry with me as they realize for the first time that they will never walk again. I’ve sat with patients as they process all the fears and worries that come with open-heart surgery. Patients have called me part of their family after, during an extended stay, I got to meet each and every one of their family members.”

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