Olivia Perry

On Saturday, December 12, Concordia University Ann Arbor School of Nursing celebrated the Pinning Ceremony for the Zeta Class, the fifth cohort to graduate from CUAA's school of nursing.


The Zeta Class pinning ceremony was originally planned to be celebrated in person with a socially-distant ceremony in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, but was quickly shifted to a virtual format when the stay-at-home restrictions were extended earlier in the week.

Each semester, Concordia’s nursing faculty and staff nominate students from the graduating cohort who best represent the core values of the nursing program: service, excellence, compassion, and integrity. An additional award, the Nightingale Award, was created as a tribute to Florence Nightingale who embodied nursing as her life’s vocation. The recipient of this award exemplifies that same character and calling.

View all of the Zeta class award recipients.

Olivia PerryCompassion Award: Olivia Perry (’20)

Presented by Kathleen Sheehan

At my previous place of employment, another nursing school, there was actually a debate going on among the faculty about weather to leave the words “art of nursing” in our mission statement.  Some faculty wanted to only refer to the “science of nursing”.

Science is incredibly important and helps to form the solid base on which we practice.  Nurses need to pull forward information from many disciplines in order to deliver safe and intelligent care to our patients.  Science is important but the art of nursing is a sight to behold.  One important part of the art of nursing involves having a compassionate heart.

Nurses gifted with compassion are compelled to relieve suffering.  They lean into it, they have an internal compass that directs them to care for those that need it most.

As a faith-based university we encourage our students to go into the world and share the good news of Christ.  This semester we offered our graduating seniors an opportunity to do their clinical hours with Covenant Community Cares.  This is an organization in Detroit that delivers transitional primary care to the homeless population via mobile medical unit.  They literally go into the world and deliver primary care to the homeless and disenfranchised population of Detroit.

This student actually came to my office and asked if she could be a part of this team for her precepted hours. I was actually surprised because I remember this student being a bit timid and unsure of herself when she first started at Concordia.  I knew this rotation was not going to be for the faint of heart of timid but God always has a plan. During our final evaluation she told me that during this rotation she had never felt more fulfilled.

I could say a lot of things about compassion.  I could give you scripture verses and definitions but I will let the words of her reflection speak to you as she describes an encounter with a patient on the streets of Detroit…

“I felt a connection with this patient as soon as she approached us, and for some reason she seemed familiar. As I gathered more information, I learned that she was not even twenty years old and came from a good family. She told us that she had only been living in Detroit and using heroin for a few months, but had already overdosed a handful of times. She wanted to get clean and had already been in and out of rehab once before. My heart broke for her as she told us her mom was waiting for her with open arms whenever she was ready to come home and try again. When asked why she had chosen to return to rehab in November and she immediately broke down. She told us about how she wanted to make her mother proud and be able to come home sober for Christmas. I embraced her and told her that I knew she could do it. She cried in my arms while I hugged her, wishing that I could take her to a safer place.  I held back my tears as we exchanged information with the patient, giving her women’s resources and Covenant Community information.”

I think that says it all…

The award for Compassion is going to Olivia Perry.

Previous Compassion Awardees:

Whitney Rivera (Omega class, Spring 2020)

Tommy Thompson (Delta class, Fall 2019)

Sherrie Anderson (Beta class, Spring 2019)

Maria Lulgjuraj (Alpha class, Fall 2018)

Learn more about Concordia’s School of Nursing.

— Rachel (Ferry) Thoms is manager of campus communications for Concordia University Ann Arbor. She may be reached at rachel.thoms@cuaa.edu or 734-995-7403.

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