Friday, May 4, 2012

Widener Honors Nursing Graduates with Nightingale Ceremony

Students welcome Colonel Lorraine Fritz as the keynote

(Chester, Pa.) -- The Nightingale Ceremony is a traditional pinning ceremony for graduating nursing students, reflecting the values and traditions of the profession.

While holding a lit candle to honor the late Florence Nightingale, who made late night, solitary rounds in a Crimean military hospital to care for wounded soldiers by candlelight, all students will recite the Nightingale Pledge, written by the International Council of Nurses, and vow to uphold the integrity of the profession. The burning candle flame symbolizes the human spirit that is at the core of healing both now and back then.

There will be 92 seniors graduating from the School of Nursing at Widener University on Friday, May 11 in Alumni Auditorium at 11 a.m.

Colonel Lorraine Fritz will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony this year. Colonel Fritz has served the country as an Army Nurse for almost three decades. She echoes the mission of the university, as it has a strong ROTC program. Each year the Army hopes to commission 225 Army Nurses, Widener’s School of Nursing has played a role in that as in pervious years they have contributed up to 5% of its graduates.

Colonel Fritz graduated from Niagara University ROTC in 1984 as a Distinguished Military Graduate with bachelor’s of science in nursing. She was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. In 1994, she earned her master’s in nursing as a pediatric nurse practitioner from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University.

COL Fritz currently serves as department chief for Health Professions Education and Staff and Faculty Development at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Before taking on this role, she was deputy commander for Nursing and Health Services there.

Throughout her career, as an Army Nurse, COL Fritz has served in a variety of clinical nursing and leadership positions. Some include: head nurse at 5th General Hospital in Bad Cannstatt, Germany; head nurse at Reynolds Army Community Hospital in Fort Sill, Oklahoma; pediatric nurse practitioner at Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, GA; head nurse and officer in charge at Monroe Health Clinic in Fort Hood, TX; and Deputy Commander for Nursing at Heidelberg MEDDAC in Germany. She was also deployed with the 47th Field Hospital in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. 

COL Fritz will discuss the importance of leadership and how it has impacted her life.

Some of COL Fritz’s awards include: Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (4 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Army Superior Unit Award, and Meritorious Unit Citation. She was also awarded the “9A” Proficiency Designator in Nursing Administration by the Surgeon General in 2009 and is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit. Academically, COL Fritz is currently a member of the Uniformed Services University, Tau Theta Chapter.

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