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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, July 22, 2013

To the Charm City for CLA's graduation. She will sit for her licensing  exam then start practice in Anchorage in September. The ceremony  was commendably brief, but nevertheless impressive-- it is an intense program, but the emphasis was not on the accomplishment of having completed it-- Hopkins expects its students to complete the program. Instead, the focus was on the future work that the graduates will be doing, and the values that they should be bring to that work. In that context I thought it especially appropriate that there was no ceremonial garb, as such-- no robes or mortarboards, sashes or hoods. Instead they all wore the lab coats that had been their classroom attire, a nice way of demonstrating that they were setting out into the world to work, just as they'd been working for the past 13 months. In earlier times they'd have been given caps-- different hospital nursing programs each had distinctive caps, and although that would be cool, it would be sort of an awkward look for the men. Traditionally upon completion of the program nurses also received a distinctive pin, a bit of ceremony that , we were told, "goes back to Flo."  Hopkins was a certificate-based program until 1973, when it became university-based; at that time the design of the pin changed from a Maltese Cross to the design Caroline is standing next to here. "It's probably the most expensive piece of jewelry I'll  ever own," she quipped. I sort of hope it is.

 I thought it notable that the school and the hospital referred to themselves as "Hopkins" more or less interchangeably. I've often said of our glamor profession that part of its appeal is that the learning curve never has to plateau; it seems to me that this is something that the Nursing program at Hopkins takes very seriously. 

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