Let Rutgers DNP students WALK to graduate!!

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DNP students at Rutgers University started this petition to Rutgers University and

Early this year, we received the dreadful news that our spring commencement graduation ceremony for the Rutgers Doctor of Nursing Practice Students (as well as all of Rutgers university) would be held off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead would be held virtually on May 20, 2021. It seems unimaginable that a university as prestigious and innovative as Rutgers cannot find a way to honor its doctoral graduates. For an entire year now, we have been shaken, tested, and forced to thrive in this unpredictable Covid-19 roller coaster.  We have continuously made adjustments along our educational and employment positions. Not only have we worked tirelessly through a pandemic, but we have struggled physically, mentally and emotionally for the past 3.5 years to become Doctors of Nursing Practice. We have adjusted to learn remotely, even at a doctoral level- missing out on valuable in person theory classes, simulation labs, and clinical sites. We have also paid full tuition for this loss of education, and unfortunately the list continues. This is only pertaining to academia, not to mention our personal, work, social, and family lives. In addition, for this entire spring semester, the University has asked us all to test for COVID-19 weekly, which we have been compliant with. If we all test ourselves weekly, wear protective masks, eye wear, and face shields, is it really out of the realm of safe possibilities that we cannot have a graduation? Even a small hooding ceremony? We would by all means follow the CDC guidelines, maintain social distance, and all of the safety measures recommended. To strip a cohort of Doctoral prepared nurses just doesn’t seem logical or fair.  We believe that with proper planning, safety measures, and modifications, something can be done for us. We are all educated and have the knowledge of how to protect ourselves from this deadly virus, therefore if anyone is able to follow safety regulations, it is us. 

 With the lifting of restrictions made by Governor Murphy, we would like a reconsideration of this decision by the University. Last week, we received the shocking news that Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be hosting a Football game in the New Brunswick stadium that will host 5,000 spectators on May 20, 2021, which is our virtual graduation date. Is this a slap on the face? We have fought the good fight this year, putting our own lives at risk working the front lines of this pandemic. How is a possible that sporting events such as this football game with 5,000 spectators, the Super Bowl, domestic and international travel can continue, but our only doctorate graduation is being taken away from us? We have all dreamt of walking on stage and being announced as “Doctors” since the beginning of this journey. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment felt so exciting and rewarding. Some of our professors have compared this commencement ceremony to their wedding day or a birth of a child, because they have described it incomparable to no other joy and pleasure you will ever feel in life. Other universities in NJ and the tri-state have came up with ways to honor their graduates at all levels, in person, with events that they earned and deserve!

Please, do not allow the University to strip us away from the once in a life time moment. Even if the University sets a graduation date for us this summer, we would be eternally grateful.  What happened to the healthcare heroes? What happened to support the healthcare heroes? Is this truly what we deserve after all of the years of sacrifice and preparing for this day?

Thank you for joining in our mission!

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