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First nursing class anticipates pinning

Friday, September 14, 2007  
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By Kimberlee Rhodes

Oklahoma Christian University’s first class of nursing students will be graduating in April of 2008. There will be 17 student total to walk. Along with this accomplishment comes the beginning of a tradition: the pinning ceremony.

“It’s been around as long as long as I can remember,” Linda Fly, head of the nursing department, said. “I have been in nursing for 22 years, and it has always been a tradition.”

The graduating nursing students are provided with a pin that bears the name of the school from which they graduate. It is a symbol to the community of the individual’s nursing experience.

“It’s like a badge of honor, allowing the student to proudly show his or her educational institution,” Fly said.

In the two-part ceremony, the pinning is followed by the lighting of the Lamp of Knowledge, a tradition and tribute to Florence Nightingale, the mother of nursing.

Nightingale is famous for being in the battlefields and bringing aid to wounded soldiers during her time. She went from wounded soldier to wounded soldier and used a lamp to light her way.

“Today we use the lamp lighting ceremony to illustrate using our lamp and going out into today’s battlefield,” Fly said. “This ceremony is like a passage of rights from the educational arena to the practice arena.”

To raise money for this ceremony, the senior class nursing officers are working on several different fund-raising activities such as garage sales and selling t-shirts.

“The senior class officers have done a tremendous job of raising funds, and the community has been so supportive,” Fly said.

Numerous Oklahoma Christian faculty members donated items for the garage sale and the Sodexho office offered points for the coffee shop by holding a drawing.

Another exciting part of this class’s experience is the Student Nurses Association, (SNA).

“This is Oklahoma Christian’s first year to have a chapter,” Jala Verner, president of SNA, said. “We hope it will be a way for us to bring in speakers from the nursing profession that can share with us their personal experience in nursing and keep us updated and educated on issues in nursing as well as many other opportunities.”

Christy Hallock, president of the senior nursing class, believes SNA will be a benefit to the nursing program by bringing classes together.

“By having OC’s nursing students at state and national conventions, it will bring more exposure to the program and the school,” Hallock said. “As members, we will try to go to the State SNA convention and maybe even the National SNA convention, where we can meet recruiters, hear from community leaders in our profession, and even take review courses for the national test that we will all have to take after we graduate.”

Along with bringing in speakers, SNA hosts conventions, offers scholarships, gives connections to graduating nursing students, and provides an advantage to the competition when studying for the NCLEX, a test that must be taken in order to become a registered nurse.

An important aspect of the pinning ceremony is the pin itself.

“It’s a big deal,” Fly said. “The first class got to design their pin, and that’ll be the design forever.”

Senior nursing program officers, Christy Hallock, Brooklynn Lovett, and Savannah Rust all participated in creating and designing the pin for the ceremony.

“We went through many drafts of the pin design but have finally been able to come up with something that is professional, classic, and something we, as students, will be proud to wear when we become RNs,” Hallock said.

The final pin design is currently in the approval process. It bears Oklahoma Christian’s name, and after the wait is over, the nursing students look forward to seeing an actual sample of the pin that represents their achievement.

Photo By Aubrey Coble

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