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The day the bells rang out for nursing

It’s a ceremony that takes place twice a day every day, but last Thursday it was all about nursing! As most TV viewers know, each weekday in New York City at exactly 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., there’s a loud and clear ringing of the New York Stock Exchange opening and closing bells to signal the beginning and the end of the trading day. A familiar sight transmitted by various media to millions and millions around the globe, the NYSE bell ringing ceremony, which takes place on the biggest little stage in business — the NYSE trading floor podium — is recognized worldwide.

Nurse.com/Oncourse Learning RNs and National League for Nursing nurse leaders joined The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future team at the New York Stock Exchange May 12, for the closing bell ceremony. From left: Eileen Williamson, senior vice president and CNE, healthcare, Nurse.com/Oncourse Learning; Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO, National League for Nursing; Janice Brewington PhD, RN, FAAN, chief program officer, National League for Nursing; and Daniel Suarez, MA, RN, business development manager, Healthcare, OnCourse Learning.

Nurse.com/Oncourse Learning RNs and National League for Nursing nurse leaders joined The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future team at the New York Stock Exchange May 12, for the closing bell ceremony. From left: Eileen Williamson, senior vice president and CNE, healthcare, Nurse.com/Oncourse Learning; Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO, National League for Nursing; Janice Brewington PhD, RN, FAAN, chief program officer, National League for Nursing; and Daniel Suarez, MA, RN, business development manager, healthcare, OnCourse Learning. Photo courtesy of NYSE.

Originally done with the banging of a gavel, later by the striking of a gong and since the late 1800s by the ringing of bells, the fabled history of heralding the opening and closing of trade at the NYSE during these iconic ceremonies is as crucial to trade as it is to tradition. The twice daily ringing on the trading floor ensures no trades take place before the opening bell and none after the closing bell.

On May 12, the birthday of nursing’s founder, Florence Nightingale, my OnCourse Learning work associates and I were the invited guests of The Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future at the NYSE closing bell ceremony. What’s more, we were there alongside other nurses, nursing students and well-known nurse leaders with names that included Hassmiller, Malone, Mancino and more. What better way to mark the end of National Nurses Week 2016 and celebrate the mother of modern nursing?

I can’t begin to convey what I felt as I stood with our company CEO Patrick Sheahan and members of our leadership team amid the joyous ding of the bells as they were rung by some of nursing’s best-known leaders. What a proud and memorable moment it was!

Before we arrived on the trading floor or neared the podium, the experience of just walking through the hallowed halls of the NYSE and seeing photographs of well-known business, government, sports and entertainment figures who were former bell ringers was amazing! The NYSE staff members were gracious and welcoming hosts. They took us first to a beautiful meeting room in which every piece of carved wood and ceiling molding bespoke the NYSE’s grand history. A senior official spoke briefly about the history of the exchange and the outstanding contributions of Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future on behalf of our profession, and reviewed the proceedings that would fill the minutes leading up to the closing bell. Johnson & Johnson’s executive vice president and CFO Dominic J. Caruso welcomed the group, and a photographer captured some special moments.

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OnCourse Learning team members, who celebrated with nurses at the NYSE bell ringing ceremony, included (from left): Philip Guarrera, vice president, business development, national; Patrick Sheahan, president and CEO; Jesse Cruz, senior vice president, advertising services; Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, senior vice president and CNE, healthcare; and Daniel Suarez, MA, RN, business development manager, healthcare. Photo courtesy of NYSE.

We were then escorted to the trading floor, greeted by the smiling faces of the traders and directed to an area at the foot of the podium. The small group selected ahead of time to participate in the ceremony was taken to the platform for instructions. Just before the big moment the group began to applaud — a signal that it was almost time. Everyone on the trading floor joined in the applause, which grew in intensity, and at exactly 4 p.m. the bells began to sound. The moment was captured by video cameras, what seemed like thousands of clicking cameras and iPhones held high in the air. The applause continued as if no one wanted to stop, and the bells went on resounding through the gigantic, noisy, happy hall.

Finally, amid the last round of applause, smiles and photo ops our hosts gathered us together and led us off the trading floor and to a lovely reception of hors d’oeuvres and wine.

Truly it was a magnificent celebration of nursing’s biggest week of the year and an event never to be forgotten by any of us. The NYSE Bell Ringing ceremony and the closing of National Nurses Week: the day the bells rang out for nursing!

Top photo caption: Johnson & Johnson’s executive vice president and CFO Dominic J. Caruso, and a group of Johnson & Johnson representatives, nurse leaders and others stand at the podium during the New York Stock Exchange’s closing bell ceremony. Photo courtesy of NYSE.

Watch the video of the NYSE bell ringing ceremony below.

By | 2016-05-18T16:09:55+00:00 May 17th, 2016|Categories: Nursing careers and jobs|Tags: |0 Comments

About the Author:

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN
Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, is a former senior vice president and CNE at OnCourse Learning, where she led nursing programs and initiatives. She continues to write and act as a consultant for Nurse.com. Before joining the company in 1998, Eileen was employed by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York, where she held a number of leadership positions in nursing and hospital administration, including chief nurse at two of the system’s member hospitals. She holds a BSN and an MSN in administration, and is a graduate fellow of the Johnson & Johnson University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Nurse Executives program. She also is a board member and past president of the New Jersey League for Nursing, a constituent league of the National League for Nursing.

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