Dedication of Hands: A Legacy of Nursing Care

by PA College August 21, 2018

On August 22, 2018, the Division of Nursing at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences will hold its second annual Dedication of Hands ceremony. All nursing students are invited to take part in this special event that stresses the significance of a nurses’ hands – powerful symbols of the holistic care they provide to a patient’s mind, body and spirit.

During the ceremony, faculty perform the washing and drying of hands, symbolically uniting faculty and students into the profession of nursing.  Faculty Kay Buchanan, MSN, RN, and Sage Olnick ’05, MDiv, RN, are set to offer keynote remarks during three sessions offered throughout the day. The Dedication of Hands has become a meaningful new ceremony for PA College nursing students, replacing the now-defunct, but beloved historical tradition of capping ceremonies in which novice students would receive their cap prior to attending their first clinical experience and returning students would receive a stripe indicating their program year.

This legacy of nursing care, passed on from faculty to students, generation to generation, will be celebrated with two special guests who attend the Dedication of Hands this year.  Cassie Kohr, a student in our three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program will attend with 1936 PA College (then the Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing) alumna, Mary Coldren Kurian. Now 103 years old, Mary is believed to be the oldest living alumni of PA College.  Mary enjoyed a long career at Lancaster General Hospital as a nurse anesthetist, retiring in 1980.

The two women met at Homestead Village in Lancaster, where Cassie works part time, and Mary has lived since 1996. While it’s not difficult to imagine how much nursing education and practice have changed since Mary entered the field, the two women have bonded over their shared devotion to the profession.  After learning that Mary’s cherished 1936 class photo had been misplaced during a move, Cassie worked with the PA College Office of Alumni Relations to find a replacement, which she gave it to Mary as a Christmas gift last year.  Mary is thrilled to have her photo back in its proper place, and to see the legacy it represents carried on by Cassie.


Read more about Cassie and Mary’s meet up here!