Nineteen graduates of South Florida State College’s associate degree nursing program were honored in a traditional pinning ceremony recently in the SFSC Theatre for the Performing Arts.
The students are graduates of the college’s one-year Transition-Licensed Practical Nursing to Registered Nursing program. It is the college’s first registered nursing class pinning since it became South Florida State College in July 2012.
In his keynote speech, Steve Ashworth, chair of SFSC EMS and Fire Science, emphasized that every healthcare provider can affect change for the good. He recounted the changes in medicine over the years and regaled Florence Nightingale for changing the way the world views nursing.
“In 1991, nurses weren’t allowed to put oxygen on a patient without a doctor’s order,” Ashworth said. “Because of advancements in education and technology, nurses today have the ability to apply critical thinking skills to make decisions in the interest of the patient.”
He asked the students, “What can you do in your career as a healthcare provider to affect change? You can change how one child views healthy eating. You can hold a homeless patient’s hand and listen to his life story when no one else will. You can serve as a role model and influence someone to make nursing his or her career goal. Change starts with one person.”
“On this special day, as this group of nurses advances from a practical nursing certificate to an associate degree in nursing,” said Dr. Michele Heston, director of SFSC’s nursing program, “I want to congratulate and challenge you to continue to be part of health care transformation that has always been the role of our discipline. The future of health care rests solidly with the strength nursing brings in holistic care, the ability to collaborate and innovate from the bedside to the community, and the ability to adapt to the changing environment.”
During the ceremony, graduates accepted their nursing pins from a person of their choice, in most cases a relative or friend who they credited with being supportive throughout their lives.
Class president Haley Levens commended fellow students: “Compassion and devotion are attributes that make a strong nurse, and they are clearly evident in everyone sitting on this state tonight. I’m proud of the nurses we’ve become. I’m proud to say that I served as the class president of this amazing bunch of people. Congratulations RN Class of 2013! We did it!”
This first graduating class of SFSC’s associate degree in nursing presented the counselors of the Florida Center for Addition and Dual Disorders with the 2013 Golden Duck Award. The award is presented to an individual or group that contributes to the learning experience of the students and has gone above and beyond to educate and accommodate members of the class, based on the D.U.C.K. motto: Developing, Understanding, Compassion, and Knowledge.
The practice of pinning new graduates has been a nursing school tradition in the United States since 1916. The pin is worn prominently on a nurse’s uniform throughout her or his career. One story of the ceremony’s beginning goes back to 1883, when Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Royal Red Cross on St. George’s Day for her service to the sick and injured during the Crimean War. In turn, Nightingale later extended the honor to her outstanding nursing students by presenting them with a medal of excellence.
Graduates of the ADN program become registered nurses by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses exam. For the past five years, SFSC ADN students have passed the exam well above the national average of 86 percent.