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Nursing student pinned by her own NICU nurse from 22 years ago: 'We're passing the torch'

The nursing student had the refreshing opportunity of being pinned on her graduation day by her NICU nurse who looked after her when she was an infant.

Nursing student pinned by her own NICU nurse from 22 years ago: 'We're passing the torch'
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @davenportuniversity

There is something heartwarming about reuniting with a person you once met after years and seeing how far they have come. Being able to interact with them brings satisfaction and comfort like no other. NICU nurse Sara Longest experienced this satisfaction in a proud moment when she pinned Isabella Vanklompenberg on her graduation day, per Midland Daily News. Longest was the nurse in the NICU back in 2001 when Vanklompenberg was born and weighed just over 2 pounds. She completed her journey as a nursing student and was ready to become a nurse just like Longest, who cared for her over 20 years ago.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Laura James
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Laura James

Vanklompenberg was born at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids to her mother, Stacy Grody and was delivered via C-section. She was in the NICU for over a month in the care of Longest before she went to her home. The young woman studied at Davenport University to become a nurse completed her degree and was overjoyed to have the same NICU nurse by her side as she received her degree. The traditional ceremony of pinning students with a badge on the completion of their degree was held at Bullock Creek High School auditorium. For Vanklompenberg, she had the opportunity to reunite with Longest, who pinned the badge on the young graduate.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Vickey Yde
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Vickey Yde

"It’s like a full circle thing—now here she is graduating from nursing school," Longest said. Vanklompenberg has been holding nothing but gratitude in her heart for Longest, who ever so lovingly cared for her and stood by her and her family’s side as a strong support system. "I’m just glad that today, I’m able to thank her and recognize her for all the work that she did,” the young woman said. Vanklompenberg had chosen Longest to have the privilege of pinning her uniform on the big day. “My mom reached out to Longest because we thought it would be pretty neat if she could pin me,” she remarked. When it was Vanklompenberg’s turn to be on the stage, the NICU nurse pinned the young woman’s uniform and shared an endearing moment packed with a reminiscing exchange of smiles.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Vidal Balileo Jr.
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Vidal Balileo Jr.

Longest revealed that her journey with the then-little one did not end at the hospital after she came home. She delightfully mentioned that Vanklompenberg’s mom would send her updates and pictures on Facebook. "When Belle mentioned the pinning ceremony, it immediately dawned on me that it should be Sara," Grody said. "What an amazing experience it would be to have Longest comeback and complete this circle. She didn't even hesitate (when I asked her)."

While the mom was proud to see the duo share their moment on stage, for Longest, it is an overwhelming and emotional memory. Davenport University shared a glimpse of the duo in a post celebrating the iconic reunion, The nurse mentioned that she is still licensed but no longer works at the hospital, but having shared the pinning ceremony with Vanklompenberg, it was like she was passing her duty down to the young woman. "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 exclaimed.

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A post shared by Davenport University (@davenportuniversity)


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