Merrimack’s New Nursing Center Blessed on First Day of Classes

Students, faculty and staff recently joined together to bless Merrimack's new Nursing Center which features state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories, classrooms and study space.

Fr. Ray Dlugos, O.S.A., led a blessing ceremony Jan. 16, 2020 for the new 20,000-square-foot Nursing Center on North Campus. The center will house the School of Health Sciences’ new nursing major and support a number of health sciences programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

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The blessing ceremony will be followed by a White Coat Ceremony at 11 a.m. Jan. 26 when nursing majors will receive clinical coats and pins signifying their career goals. A grand opening will be held Feb. 13.

The nursing pins will remind students to keep a sense of humanism while interacting with patients during their careers, said Lynne Sheppard, the associate clinical professor. Sheppard has guided much of the work that went into establishing the major and equipping the new center.

“We’re so excited to have students here because it’s going to be such a good learning environment,” she said.

In a sign of inclusion, Fr. Ray asked students, faculty and staff in attendance to raise their hands in blessing the center as he prayed aloud with them.

The center’s innovative environment is receiving glowing reviews for its aesthetics and state-of-the-art equipment.

“It’s beautiful how modern it is, ” said Trenton Cano ’23, a nursing major from Millbury, Massachusetts. “It’s technologically advanced.”

Starting a new nursing program is a difficult project that must meet strict government regulations and oversight, said President Christopher E. Hopey. Many schools can’t take on the challenge of starting and operating a nursing program that requires a new building, specialized equipment and highly skilled instructors.

“These are not simple endeavors,” he said.

However, the program fits with Merrimack’s mission as a college in the Augustinian tradition, Hopey said. Nurses provide vital care for the ailing and injured and the students who pass through the new center’s halls will someday be tasked with saving lives.

“The other schools I toured had nothing compared to this technology and modernization,” said Logan Lattime ’23, a nursing major from Newburyport, Massachusetts. “I know we’re going to be trained by amazing professors and nurses.”

Vice President for Learning and Innovation Kyle McInnis, who was dean of Health Sciences when the concept of a nursing major was developed, said the opening is a great success for the College.

“It’s great to see the years of planning that went into this actually come to fruition,” he said.

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