Anatomy of a pinning ceremony
An unexpected turnout for the January 2017 Pinning Ceremony required the last-minute addition of 75 chairs to those already set up in the Gallery to accommodate the guests who assembled to honor the School of Nursing graduates. Twenty-three nursing students would receive their pins to commemorate the completion of their Pittsburgh Technical College studies in front of an audience approaching 350.
The evening began with a welcome and introductions by Eileen Steffan, MS, Vice President of Education, and Jackie Lever, MSN, RN, Academic Chair, School of Nursing, Pittsburgh Technical College.
“I am so impressed with our students,” exuded Lever. “These two groups of students have developed strong relationships with each other and have functioned as unique teams in all areas including the classroom and the clinical setting.
“I am personally pleased with the comments they have shared with me about the impact members of our faculty and staff have on them and their success. That means a lot to us.”
Although he made them squirm one last time during his remarks, Joe Dominick, MSN, RN, NE-BC, and a member of the PTC School of Nursing, was selected by the associate in science, nursing students as the faculty speaker for their pinning ceremony.
He recounted their first-quarter Introduction to Nursing class which included in-depth discussions related to the scope of nursing practice, ethics, QSEN competencies, autonomy and non-malfeasance, and five-year plans.
“Just look at them squirming,” he instructed the audience. “They asked if they would encounter me in any other courses. I said I was hard to get rid of. They did not believe me.”
By the time these students neared graduation they had made it through his Pharmacology class where they had written out drug cards and more drug cards. They role played polypharmacy issues and wrote papers in APA format.
They had survived his Professional Transitions into Nursing Practice class where they studied nursing’s rules and regulations and completed the clinical experience.
Now, believers, he repeated what he’d said time and time again. “If being a nurse was easy, everyone would be a nurse,” he reminded them.
He complimented the 14 ASN students on overcoming real challenges, on maintaining a job or raising a family while successfully facing the rigors of nursing school, and for working hard.
Again addressed the audience, he said, “Many of you may not realize it, but along the way, these students worked their gluteal muscles off. For you non-nurses in the crowd, that means they worked their butts off.”
Congratulations to these January 2017 Associate in Science, Nursing graduates:
The Practical Nursing students asked Lorna Woodhall, MSN, RN, CEN, EMT-P, and a member of the PTC School of Nursing faculty, to serve as their pinning ceremony speaker.
At the beginning of her Foundations of Nursing course, she asks each student to handwrite the answers to six personal questions. The answers she receives helps Woodhall develop a care plan, not unlike the assessments nurses perform and the care plans they develop for patients.
She wants to understand the challenges her students face and how she can best help them succeed.
There is a common theme that runs through the responses: family, children, friends, and memories of significant others. “Care, support and motivation from loved ones are absolutely vital to student success,” Woodhall shared with members of the audience. “On their behalf, I thank you for providing this.”
She also shared that the answers to her sixth and final question, “Why do you want to be a nurse?” are as individual as each student.
“They do not tell me it’s because they want to wear a really cool uniform. They do not tell me it’s because they want to marry a doctor,” she said. “These answers are individual and heartfelt and touching.”
In closing, she advised the PN graduates to remember to care, not just for their patients and patients’ families, but also for each other, as she welcomed them to the nursing profession.
Congratulations to these January 2017 Practical Nursing graduates:
The evening ended with all the nursing graduates reciting the Nightingale Pledge which ends with these words: With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
And, of course, hugs from family and friends.
The Pinning Ceremony was streamed live on Facebook for Family and Friends that couldn’t attend.