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September 25, 2017

UMaine School of Nursing kicks off largest first-year class in decades

The University of Maine launched its largest first-year nursing class in recent history Friday when 115 UMaine School of Nursing students took an oath of compassionate care during a ceremony attended by nearly 300 parents, teachers alumni and students.

The size of the incoming nursing class is the result of UMaine lifting its undergraduate enrollment cap from 85 to 115 students in response to the expected shortfall of 3,300 nurses in Maine and 100,000 nurses nationwide by 2022.

“The most important element of the ceremony is the oath that students take in front of family members, school leadership and their peers to acknowledge their central obligation to care for patients,” Mary Walker, director of the School of Nursing, said in a news release.

Only 50 programs are competitively selected each year to receive the Gold Foundation funding for the white-coat ceremony for first-year students in medical, nursing and physician assistant programs.

UMaine’s School of Nursing was the first in the University of Maine System and the only program in the state selected to receive grant funding for the ceremony this year.

School of Nursing alumna Kay Clements, chief nursing officer of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, addressed the class as the evening’s keynote speaker. UMaine President Susan J. Hunter and Fred Servello, dean of the UMaine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture, also spoke during the event.

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