Jami Gray gave a speech to her fellow associate nursing graduates at the traditional pinning ceremony, held on Tuesday, December 19. She was chosen to lead the student reflection, and includes in her speech quips of the trials and tribulations of completing a notoriously difficult program. The audience laughed and nodded in agreement, the graduating students among them overjoyed and relieved to have finally reached the completion of their program.
The last class of the associate nursing degree program at St. Kate’s graduated 36 students. Completion of this program prepares students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), a required test for nursing graduates to begin entry-level careers, and for the potential to continue on to a bachelor’s degree in nursing or beyond.
While the thought of another examination or more schooling is daunting, Gray perfectly summed up her classmates’ resolve in their chosen paths. “You know you’re a nursing student when stress, pressure and exhaustion do not deter you.”
As the speeches and prayers concluded, the students began the pinning ceremony. The pin itself represents the nurse’s education, training and caring presence acquired throughout their education. Students choose who will present their pin — many choose family, friends and influential teachers to participate in this important milestone.
A custom dating back more than 100 years, the pinning ceremony was first instituted by Florence Nightingale, a revolutionary influencer on modern healthcare, when the first class of students graduated from her nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.
By Kristen Wunderlich