Dating back to the Crimean War where the pin was used to set apart those who were prepared, trained and called to serve the sick, the pinning tradition is a special rite of passage for nursing students. On Thursday, August 13, members of the Ida Moffett School of Nursing spring class of 2020 were honored with this special distinction.
The pinning ceremony tradition recognizes each graduate’s readiness to enter into the ministry and service of nursing. The nursing pin is intended to represent the mastery of the art of nursing while the diploma is representative of proficiency in the science of nursing.
Though virtual, the ceremony followed the traditional structure of a nursing pinning ceremony including presentations from three nurse student leaders. The invocation was given by Ellie Hiller ‘20, class president, the scripture reading was provided by Sarah Calvert ’20, class secretary and treasurer, and the presentation of the Nightingale Award was given by Ruth Anne Ballard ’20, class vice president.
Ellie Morris, a member of the 2020 graduating class, was honored with the Nightingale Award which is given to the student who expresses compassionate care and excellence in clinical nursing practice. Morris was selected to receive this special award through a vote of her peers.
Nina Harvey, Ida Moffett School of Nursing assistant professor, served as the event’s keynote speaker.
“Every semester we welcome classes of new nurses into the profession from all over the globe. These new nurses enter the work force with new knowledge, new experiences and also apprehension about the new world of nursing that awaits them. In this manner, your class and the class of 2020 is no different,” said Harvey. “However, many other things are different indeed…There’s uncertainty about living and working during the pandemic. There’s uncertainty about the NCLEX for those of you who have not taken boards yet. There’s uncertainty of how COVID-19 may affect your first nursing job.”
Harvey admitted that as she worked to write her speech she struggled to find words of inspiration to share with the class because she has personally struggled to be encouraged. However, she shared that as she thought of their class and the tenacity of Ida V. Moffett, she began to focus on the certain rather than the uncertain circumstances.
“I’m certain you’ve experienced enough heartache from having such dramatic changes to the expectations for your senior year. But knowing your class, I’m certain your empathy and ability to grow from these obstacles has increased. I am certain you have faced more challenges than some seasoned nurses have in your last semester of nursing school, but you’ve handled every challenge with poise and grace. Your class has always been a true example of professionalism. I’m certain that this won’t change. Finally, I am certain that God will keep His promises to always be with you, protect you, strengthen you, provide for you, give you peace, and above all, love you,” said Harvey.
The ceremony concluded with the lighting of the lamp and reciting of the nursing pledge. In addition to its ties to Florence Nightingale, the lamp is representative of the search for scientific knowledge and a commitment to lifelong learning. In reciting the nursing pledge, students vowed to maintain the high standard of nursing care set forth by those before them and to use their knowledge and skills to enhance patient care with dignity and respect.
Of the 69 members of the graduating class, 61 have reported that they have successfully accepted positions as registered nurses in hospitals across the country.
“These graduates have entered a field that is vastly different than it was when they entered our nursing program. Perhaps no other class has collectively learned what it means to have the courage to care as early in their career as the class of 2020,” said Nena Sanders, Ida Moffett School of Nursing dean and College of Health Sciences vice provost. “The principles behind our pin have stood the test of time. We are proud to honor these graduates with this pin of distinction and celebrate this special rite of passage.”
Designed by the Ida Moffett School of Nursing class of 1974, the Ida Moffett School of Nursing pin features two colors, gold in representation of the golden rule and blue to represent truth and loyalty. Found in the center of the pin is a stack of books to represent the knowledge the students have gained and will continue to gain throughout their career. The pin also features the image of a lamp in honor of Nightingale who was frequently documented as carrying a lamp as she made her nightly rounds in the hospital wards.