A total of 423 graduates received their diplomas at the two successive graduation ceremonies of the Faculty of Health Sciences (ETK) that was held in the NET building of Semmelweis University. The diplomas were presented by rector Dr. Béla Merkely, Dr. Zoltán Zsolt Nagy, the outgoing dean of the faculty, and Dr. Gabriella Dörnyei, the new dean. Several faculty staff were also presented with Outstanding Worker and Dean’s Commendations awards at the event.

The ceremony, held as an open meeting of the Senate, was opened by Dr. Béla Merkely in the great hall of the Nagyvárad tér Theoretical Building. At both events, the rector pointed out that the role of health care and other related professions around the world has become more significant in the past months. “I am certain that the people that chose any area of health care for their studies are aware of the difficulties of this profession, in addition to its wonders. And these two are closely linked: without challenges, there can be no success, and we can not look back with satisfaction at our results,” the rector stated at the first ETK ceremony held Friday afternoon, where graduates of the Hungarian and English-language nursing and patient care programs received their diplomas.

The rector recalled that over the past months, from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic’s appearance in Hungary, Semmelweis University has played a major role in virus diagnostics as well as in the treatment of patients, which is something that every university citizen can rightly be proud of. The team of nurses and professionals at the university also demonstrated that even in these challenging times, they can work together, supporting each other in the interest of the patients. “With their indispensable work, they contributed, and continue to contribute, to ensuring that patient care is conducted in a manner and quality that is fitting for the university, even during a pandemic situation,” Dr. Béla Merkely emphasized. The rector expressed his hope that many graduates will choose to pursue their work at one of Semmelweis University’s many departments, and noted that for the 250-year-old university, it is important to value each of its citizens, which is why the Senate has supported the introduction of a career model for nurses, as a way of rewarding worker loyalty.

“As health care professionals, it will not only be your task to perform well at your workplace, but also to spread health consciousness in your closer and wider environment,” the rector said at the second event of the afternoon, where the Hungarian students of the faculty’s other programs were awarded their diplomas. He noted that one of the main missions is public health prevention. At both events, the rector stressed the importance of continuously updating knowledge, the ability for renewal, and following all written and unwritten rules of the health sciences profession. “The work of health care professionals is built on trust: we have to trust ourselves, our own knowledge, and the colleagues that surround us. And we must never lose sight of the trust that patients place in us, which we must always respect under any circumstances” said the rector.

In his speech, Dr. Zoltán Zsolt Nagy, the faculty’s outgoing dean, recalled that the first higher education training program for health care workers in Hungary started in 1975 at the legal predecessor of ETK, the Imre Haynal University of Health Sciences. “Our institution is proud to bear the Semmelweis name, as well as the added responsibility this comes with,” he said. He pointed out that the ETK is the second largest faculty of the university, with close to 3500 Hungarian and international students. He also noted the developments that have taken place over the past seven years, including the increased publication list, impact factor and citations of its lecturers; the launch of the PhD School of Health Sciences after three years of intensive preparatory work; the launch of the Developments in Health Sciences English-language publication; and the quick reaction of the training portfolio to arising needs. He also spoke about the start in June 2020 of the biggest development in the faculty’s history, the HUF 5.8 billion construction of the so-called Phase 3 project, under which the building in Vas utca will be expanded with a modern, 4000-square-meter new wing, with large lecture halls and classrooms that ensure the development of quality education. With regard to to the current coronavirus situation, he pointed out that digital education services at the faculty have been strengthened, and both students and lecturers have become expert users of platforms like Moodle, Zoom, Teams and Caltura. The dean noted that current graduates are receiving their diplomas in the 250th anniversary year of the university, which was celebrated in a fitting manner despite the restrictions caused by the unexpected pandemic.

Next, led by vice-dean Dr. István Vingender, graduating students took their oaths, after which Dr. Béla Merkely Dr. Zoltán Zsolt Nagy and Dr. Gabriella Dörnyei, the faculty’s new dean, handed over the diplomas.

In the name of the graduating class, freshly graduated public health inspector Cintia Alexandra Szabó held a speech, in which she recalled the university years, starting from the freshers’ camp, to the first challenges and all the way to writing the final thesis. She noted the extraordinary circumstances they had to close this last semester under, and thanked the lecturers and everyone else who gave them help and support. She said she is proud to have acquired the knowledge that she will carry with her all her life at Semmelweis University.

A total of 423 students received their diplomas at the two successive graduation ceremonies held by the ETK. At the first ceremony, graduates of the nursing and patient care program’s nursing, physiotherapy, dietetics, paramedic and midwifery specializations were present, including English-language students, while the second event comprised the presentation of diplomas for graduates of the other programs, including public health inspector, health visitor, various specializations, as well as graduates of the master degree programs in nursing, physiotherapy, nutritional sciences, teacher of health care, and others.

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At the second event, rector Dr. Béla Merkely handed out Outstanding Worker awards to Ágnes Babics-Szabó, Józsefné Nágel and Dr. Veronika Rajki, while dean Dr. Gabriella Dörnyei presented Dean’s Commendations to Erika Gácsi, Dr. Mária Szekeres, Attila Varga, Kata Réz and Dr. Edit Andrea Jáger.

The graduation ceremonies were held with the fullest adherence to the currently required safety measures, while the relatives and friends of the graduating students were able to follow the proceedings via an online live broadcast.

For the complete photo gallery, please visit our Hungarian site for the report on the event.

Pálma Dobozi
Translation: Tamás Deme
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University