With the opportunity to speak to more than 100 Youngstown State University nursing students about to start the clinical phase of their baccalaureate nursing education, Lisa Aurilio related a profound personal experience to help shape their career expectations.
“It was not until I held and fed a newborn in the nursery on a Christmas Eve nightshift on the day the baby’s postpartum mother had just died that I believe I truly began to understand the art of nursing,” said Lisa, Akron Children Hospital’s chief nursing officer and vice president of patient services. “You have the opportunity to be invited into patient’s lives in some of the most intimate and intense moments that they will ever know, and you will make a difference.”
Lisa was the keynote speaker Monday at YSU’s first-ever white coat ceremony for nursing students. Nancy Wagner, YSU associate professor and department chair, said white coat ceremonies are typically a ritual at medical schools.
However, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has started to promote white coat ceremonies as nursing students transition into their clinical experiences. YSU was one of 60 schools nationally awarded a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for the event.
“We’re so honored that Lisa agreed to speak at our first white coat ceremony,” Nancy said. “As the chief nursing officer at Akron Children’s Hospital, she represents hundreds of nurses and caregivers who offer compassionate care and humanism to all children and families.”
YSU cloaked 112 sophomore nursing students with white coats and pins representing humanism and excellence. The school chose Lisa to address the students because of the Girard-native’s Mahoning Valley roots and the hospital’s prominence in the region.
Lisa is responsible for the patient service areas at both Akron Children’s hospitals, as well as the off-site patient care units within adult hospitals.
“You are on your way to becoming part of a profession that will give you opportunities that will touch the lives of others in a way that will make you and all those around you better human beings,” Lisa told the nursing students.