Following Career Switch, Iona University Nursing Graduate Embarks on New Chapter

Erin Mitchell ’22 celebrated her transition from student to nurse at Iona’s pinning ceremony on December 16

Erin Mitchell

Erin Mitchell ’22

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Life changed for Erin Mitchell ’22 the day her nephew was born, a day she describes as “magical” in more ways than one. As she was in the delivery room with her twin sister during childbirth, she not only served as a support system, but in that moment, her own fate became clear.

“I knew that I wanted to go into nursing,” said Mitchell, who at the time was working in advertising. “I could tell that they really cared about my sister. The way they interacted with her throughout the entire process is something I’ll never forget, but I also really admired how much they loved what they were doing.”

Quitting her job three months later to pursue her calling, today Mitchell’s journey as a nursing student comes to an end with the University’s nursing pinning ceremony. The event symbolizes the cumulation of a student’s nursing education and the transition into practice.

“The act of pinning each student symbolizes how the nursing faculty welcome them into the profession,” Sherylyn Watson, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, director of nursing and associate dean of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, said. “The pinning ceremony also serves as a time for families and friends to celebrate our students as they reach their goals.”

Early on, health care was not the field Mitchell envisioned. She received a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2005, and had a successful career in advertising, developing campaigns for widely-known brands such as Pizza Hut and KFC. Although her work was fun and creative, Mitchell realized that the most important element was missing – passion.

“I vividly remember the day I first came to Iona for a tour,” Mitchell reflected. “The campus was so vibrant and when I toured the nursing building, I met the most welcoming people. I knew that I found the right place for me and immediately withdrew my applications to other schools.”

Mitchell appreciated that Iona’s rigorous, values-oriented nursing program offered not only an undergraduate pathway to becoming a nurse, but also a 16-month, second-degree accelerated program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field – just like her.

A full circle journey, Mitchell will become a labor and delivery nurse, caring for women and their families during childbirth.

“My work is so much more fulfilling now,” she said. “I have a purpose.”

Iona’s pinning ceremony honored 19 nursing students, who brought their own unique perspectives, thoughts and gifts to the program.

“I could not have gotten through this program without the help of my classmates,” Mitchell said. “When I started, my mom told me, ‘you’ll never get through this alone.’ I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but now I realize that the way we all supported each other, and everything I learned from my classmates, was pivotal to getting to this moment.

On December 13, 2022, Mitchell’s sister gave birth to her second son. Mitchell made it to the hospital in time to cheer her sister on and was also given the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord.

Erin Mitchell with her family at the pinning ceremony.

Erin Mitchell with her family. She was inspired to become a nurse the day her nephew was born.

The 2022 nursing pinning candidates.

Iona’s pinning ceremony honored 19 nursing students, who brought their own unique perspectives, thoughts and gifts to the program.

Erin Mitchell hugs her fellow nursing classmate.

“I could not have gotten through this program without the help of my classmates,” Mitchell said.

Shery Watson at the 2022 pinning cereomny.

Sherylyn Watson, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, director of Nursing and associate dean of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences.

Wilhelmina M. Manzano, RN

Wilhelmina M. Manzano, RN, Group Senior Vice President & Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Operating Officer for Perioperative Services, NewYork-Presbyterian.

ABOUT IONA
Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2022.” Iona University also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona University and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, to be principally located on the University’s new campus in Bronxville, N.Y. Supported by a $20 million gift from NewYork-Presbyterian, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences offers a new vision for collaborative health care education, modern workforce development, and community care. On July 1, 2022, Iona officially changed its status from College to University, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.