By Willie Day
Nurses graduating this spring will be pinned at a ceremony that dates back to the 1860s. It is based on awards given to the best nurses in graduating classes by Florence Nightingale. The nurses were awarded a Maltese Cross medal. The ceremony is at 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm on May 15, 2015 in the plaza of the T Building (1st floor).
The nurses will be pinned by someone who played a significant role in supporting them throughout their program.
In an article written by Dr. Mary Dowd, she states, “the pinning ceremony is a rite of passage that welcomes students into the esteemed nursing profession.” The nurses recite the “Nightingale Pledge” which is a statement of ethical principles of the nursing profession. It is a vow to treat people who are ill whenever and wherever they are in need. In 1935, Lystra Eggart Gretter broadened the nurse’s role by including an oath to become a “missioner of health.” The nurses vow to dedicate their services to advance human welfare. Gretter is noted for modeling the nursing profession from a one-year apprenticeship to a three-year academic program.
The ceremony is held the in presence of family members.
In February 2015, Allison Rombal hosted a fundraiser at Chaing Mai Tai, inside Calhoun Square, to purchase pins to award board members who “worked hard to help with the pinning ceremony,” says Rombal. The students are Co-President Lourdmy Jean, Co-Vice President Allison Rombal, Corey Turner and Lori Campagnola, both Co-Secretaries, and Treasurer Fardosa Corbin. All are members of the Student Nursing Association (SNA).
Some of the students will move on to Augsburg College to complete the Pathways program. Pathways is a three-year program for nurses to attend MCTC for two years, partnered with Augsburg College for one year. Lourdmy Jean is graduating this semester. She says that this class of the the professional Nurses Program (NPRO) is the first to graduate under the Pathways program. Rombal is also graduating but will not be moving on to Augsburg, says she is “past burned out mode.” She has an LPN license and currently works as an LPN. She plans to work for a year before returning to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. She will receive her pin from her boyfriend who“has been there to support my studying and progress from the beginning.”
Out of 128 students graduating this spring, 27 are male, says Interim Director of Nursing, Jane Persoon. 117 students are Registered Nurses (RNS) and 11 are Practical Nurses (PN). Three of them are men, she says.
For other students who are pursuing a career in nursing, Rombal says it is likely to be the, “hardest thing you will ever do.” She states further that it is also, “the biggest and best thing you will accomplish in your life.”
MCTC is one of many colleges across the nation that commemorate graduating nurses with the traditional pinning ceremony.