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Nursing Student Gets Graduation Pin From the Same Nurse Who Cared For Her 22 Years Ago

Sara Longest once cared for a premature baby in NICU and 22 years later, she became the one to pin her as she earned her own nursing degree.
PUBLISHED MAY 17, 2024
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Davenport University
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Davenport University

Childbirth is not just a memorable moment for parents, but the doctors and staff at hospitals also become part of their joy in that moment. Sara Longest used to be a nurse caring for newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. She was present when Isabella Vanklompenbern was born on September 30, 2001, via C-section. Vanklompenberg spent 42 days in the neonatal care unit where Longest looked after her and nursed her until the baby went home with her family, per Midland Daily News.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Bayu Prakosa
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Bayu Prakosa

Vanklompenberg is 22 years old now and she is about to become a nurse herself. This career path has also reunited her with the nurse who cared for her when she was an infant in the traditional pinning ceremony for the nurses. At the Bullock Creek High School's auditorium, Longest became the one to place a pin on Vanklompenberg during the ceremony in which students who are finishing their degrees become nurses. Vanklompenberg is set to graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing from Davenport University in Midland on April 28, 2024. 



 

"It's like a full circle thing - now here she is graduating from nursing school," Longest told the news outlet. "I'm thankful for Sara and everything that she's done for me and my family and being a huge support system through that whole tough situation," Vanklompenberg said, adding how she was thankful for Longest being a part of her life. "And I'm just glad that today I'm able to thank her and recognize her for all the work that she did."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | kenan zhang
Representative Image Source: Pexels | kenan zhang

Vanklompenberg, along with 16 other Davenport graduates in the nursing department, was honored in a 45-minute recognition ceremony where Vanklompenberg achieved an award for scoring 3.7 grade points along with a clinical excellence award. Towards the conclusion of the ceremony, the graduating students were called on stage as they met the person they had chosen to put a pin on them. When Vanklompenberg's turn came, Longest stepped ahead to place the Davenport pin on her white nursing uniform and the duo shared a warm embrace.

Throughout these years, Vanklompenberg's mom had kept in touch with Longest through Facebook. "And prior to Facebook, she would send me pictures and updates of Isabella when she was a baby," Longest said. "My mom kind of reached out to Sara because we thought it would be great if she could pin me today," Vanklompenberg mentioned. Longest had not only taken care of Vanklompenberg when she was in NICU but also cared for her brother Peyton who was born at 26 weeks in 2004. "We were so comfortable and familiar with her. It alleviated any anxiety we had. Having a nurse we already trusted was huge," Grody recalled.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kampus Production
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kampus Production

When Longest was caring for Vanklompenberg in the NICU, she was coincidentally the same age as the young nurse now. "From what I can remember, I said I would take care of her for a couple of nights," Longest reminisced. "And then Stacey and her then-husband Mark asked me to take care of her every shift that I worked - so that was called primary care nursing. And I loved being able to just stay in touch with them."

Vanklompenberg is just beginning her journey as a nurse as she is about to join a job position in Grand Rapids after graduation. "We're kind of passing the torch in a way. I'm excited to become a nurse and do my thing out there, too," Vanklompenberg added.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | CDC
Representative Image Source: Pexels | CDC
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