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Welcoming a New Cohort of Nursing Students

Posted on 08.31.23 by Kelly Williams Brown in School of Nursing

The fall 2023 BSN cohort in the lecture hall during orientation.Linfield University-Good Samaritan School of Nursing welcomed the 79 members of its traditional BSN fall 2023 cohort last week, and Dean Paul Smith could’t be more pleased.

“Within this cohort, we not only see cultural diversity, but also gender diversity, age diversity, diversity of experience,” he said. “Someday, they will be caring for folks from all walks of life, including people from historically underrepresented groups, and we need caregivers that reflect their communities.”

Throughout the Friday orientation, Peer Resource Network (PRN) advocates guided students as they toured campus, met professors and got to know their fellow cohort members, who will be alongside them for the next two years.

Taylor Paluska ’24 wore her bright purple PRN shirt as she demonstrated how to take the pulse and listen to the torso of a medical manikin to new students. All year, she’ll work as a peer mentor to them — addressing questions, giving support and pointing them towards campus resources. Mentoring, she said, is her way of giving back, and it’s great for students to have some approachable they can connect with for help.

“As a first-semester student, I was overwhelmed,” she said. “One thing I love about being a PRN is that we’re not an authority figure. We’re here to offer support and resources.”

PRN advocate showing two new nursing students a manikin.Two new students, Kalysa Dombrigues ’25 and Christian Figueroa ’25, chatted with Taylor, getting general advice (“Try out all the opportunities you’re given”), instructions on the manikins and tips for success.

When asked what she was most excited for and most nervous about, Kalysa laughed and said the answer to each was the same.

“Simulation labs and clinicals!” she said. “This is so different compared to what we did on the Mac campus.”

When asked why she decided to become a nurse when so many are leaving the profession, Kalysa didn’t hesitate.

“In high school, my grandma was sick, and I was there as a care provider,” she said. “I really enjoyed it, and my grandma told me, ‘You should really consider doing this.’”

Nursing students watching a demonstration in the Experiential Learning Center.Christian, who transferred to Linfield after studying at nearby Mount Hood Community College for two years, described a similar calling.

“I’ve always been into the medical field and thought, ‘maybe I should be a doctor.’ I’ve always liked science, and I’ve always liked helping people — for example, my grandpa. That’s really what does it for me — the passion for helping and caring for people.” To conclude the day, students participated in the acorn tradition, where they select an acorn, passed down from those who graduated in May 2023, from a bowl made from the Old Oak tree that used to stand on the McMinnville campus.

Matt Hiller, director of Student Life for the Portland campus, acknowledged the people who made their ancestral homes on the land, then notes that acorns were very much a part of their lives. A 25-year-old oak tree, he said, can feed one person for a year.

“But a 75-year-old oak tree can feed a whole family for a year,” he said. “We ask that you take good care of your acorn, take hold of the potential of your education to transform your life, your community, your country and the world.”