Seton Hill University’s Inaugural Nursing Class Graduates
When Seton Hill’s first class of nursing students entered as freshmen in the Fall of 2019, they were a bit unsure of what to expect.
The university’s reputation of educating students in healthcare was strong, but the Bachelor of Science program in Nursing was brand new, and they would be the first students in The Daniel J. Wukich School of Nursing at Seton Hill.
And then in the spring of their freshman year, the COVID-19 pandemic began - sending them home to study for the remainder of that semester and bringing to light the importance of nurses around the world.
On Saturday, May 6, the inaugural class of Seton Hill University’s Daniel J. Wukich School of Nursing graduated with their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and are now headed out to fill critical roles at health care facilities in the Pittsburgh region.
Diane Kondas, Director of the Wukich School of Nursing at Seton Hill, said the first graduating class has proven to be resilient through it all.
“It has been wonderful to experience the last four years with our first graduating class. Every student brings a unique perspective to our program that will leave long lasting impressions and memories,” Kondas said. “This group of students has definitely felt the difficulties and stress in the healthcare system due to the pandemic, including staff shortages and general nurse burn out. They researched solutions to improve the mental health of nurses dealing with the stress of the pandemic in their junior year, and developed quality improvement projects in their senior year to improve work flow for the nurses. Their experiences with the pandemic as students made them very aware of how to choose future workplaces that are nursing centered. I am very proud of the class of 2023 and look forward to seeing all they will accomplish in nursing.”
The graduates will have an immediate impact with 76 percent of the inaugural class having secured jobs before graduation - all of which were at hospitals and healthcare systems in southwestern Pennsylvania. The rest of the graduating students plan to pursue job opportunities after taking their nursing licensure examinations.
They will be practicing in community hospitals in more rural areas as well as large hospital systems in and around Pittsburgh. They’ll be working in pediatrics, oncology, hospice, intensive care and more.
“Seton Hill launched the BSN program to address the nursing shortage in the Pittsburgh region and throughout the country - and that shortage has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Seton Hill President Mary Finger. “The inaugural graduates of the Wukich School of Nursing at Seton Hill will go out into the world and immediately make a difference in the lives of residents of southwestern Pennsylvania.”
Chloe Pohland of Latrobe, a member of the inaugural class, will be taking a position at UPMC Mercy in the Medical Surgical ICU. She said her time at Seton Hill gave her the confidence she needed for the nursing profession.
“Nursing school is really hard. It was simultaneously the most challenging and most rewarding four years of my life,” she said. “I went from being scared to talk to patients to being able to fully assess ICU patients by myself my senior year during my preceptorship.”
Class member Adam Goodnack of Turtle Creek will be working at UPMC East’s Emergency Department. He is looking forward to making a difference in his community.
“From my youth, I fondly remember encounters with nursing staff and various healthcare professionals as both sets of my now passed grandparents underwent care for various illnesses and treatments,” he said. “Seeing my grandparents in a healthcare setting opened my eyes to the understanding that healthcare professionals can do so much good for individuals in their greatest time of need.”
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