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MC School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony ‘Pivotal Moment’ in Graduates’ Transition to Profession

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The hard work graduating students in the Mississippi College School of Nursing have dedicated toward their courses and clinicals will be recognized during a solemn ceremony marking their transition from learners to practitioners of their profession.

The Mississippi College School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 16, in historic Provine Chapel on the Clinton campus, will provide an opportunity for the students to share the accomplishment of becoming a nurse with their families and classmates.

Dr. Kimberly Sharp, dean of the School of Nursing at MC, said the ceremony is one of the most pivotal moments in a nurse’s career.

“It is an event that validates the completion of their training and represents a significant part of their journey to becoming nurses,” said Sharp, who will give the ceremony’s commencement address. “We’re consecrating them to the mission of nursing. It’s a ministry of serving others that they have been called to do.

“Every nursing school has developed its own distinctive pin for graduates to wear as part of their uniform, and identifies the school and the heritage they are associated with.”

In addition to the distinctive pin, each graduate will receive a second emblem firmly rooted in the Christian University’s tradition. A yellow rose will be given to each member of the class, just as it has to every graduate of the school.

A yellow rose was presented to each member of the first graduating class (in 1973), and it’s a tradition that has been continued by Susan Richardson, a member of that original class.

“They can give the rose to a loved one for helping support them on their journey, or they can keep it as a reminder of what the Lord has called them to do – to care for others.”

For the first time in several years, the ceremony is taking place separately from MC’s Winter Commencement so that School of Nursing students can share their academic achievements with their respective families.

The ceremony will be a special time of sharing for Kristina Merrill and Jamie Shelby, each of whom will be receiving the Bachelor of Science in Nursing the following day. They plan to celebrate their accomplishment with those most responsible for helping them achieve their academic goals.

Merrill’s hometown is Long Island, New York, but she, her husband, and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter have been living in Clinton on and off for the last three years. Merrill will excitedly welcome her parents, who are flying down from the Empire State to attend the ceremony.

After graduating, Merrill plans to work at a hospital while she returns to school to obtain her doctorate and specialize as a family nurse practitioner.

“We are all grateful for this ceremony and excited to start our new adventures as nurses,” Merrill said. “I’m excited for what the future holds.”

She credits her success in school to many of her professors at MC who “always pushed me to do my best.”

As residents of Collinsville, Shelby’s parents and grandmother won’t have as far to travel to see their young scholar receive her pin, but they’ll certainly be no less proud. Although she’s never seen a pinning ceremony, Shelby has been anticipating this one for quite some time.

“This ceremony signifies all I have accomplished these past two years. Every hour of studying and patient care has all led up to this moment where I receive a pin for finishing a long journey.

“There are so many people who have stood beside me through these past two years. I would have to thank God, my parents, and my granny the most for putting up with all my stress attacks and giving me constant encouragement. They have always pushed me to be the best I could possibly be and to find my passions in life. Also, a big ‘thank you’ to the professors who became my friends!”

Shelby plans to return home to Lauderdale County and work in an intensive care unit/cardiovascular recovery area of a Meridian-area hospital.

Tradition has it that the nurse pinning ceremony is tied to an award that was presented to Florence Nightingale, “the Lady with the Lamp,” a British nurse, social reformer, and statistician recognized as the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of the St. George for her tireless work during the Crimean War.

To share the honor, she presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates, and shortly thereafter, the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London began awarding a badge with a Maltese Cross to all students who completed its program.

Thursday night’s ceremony will be no less formal. Preceding the event, a reception featuring a slide show of activities the graduating class took part in during their time in the school is scheduled from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall. Attendees will then cross Monroe Street and enter Provine Chapel, the setting of many nurse pinning events of the past, for the official ceremony at 6.

“We have a special connection with Provine Chapel, and it’s good for us to reconnect with our roots,” Sharp said. Students in the school’s traditional B.S.N. program, accelerated B.S.N. program, R.N.-to-B.S.N. program, and the last master’s cohort will be recognized individually.
Class Verse
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

– Galatians 6:9
Mississippi College School of Nursing Creed
I recognize that every person is created in the image of God;
That every person deserves respect as a unique individual;
and that every person has needs essential to his spiritual, physical, and intellectual well-being.
I recognize the expanding roles of the profession, the significance of being a vital member of the health care team;
and the emergence of professional nursing as a discipline and a science. Therefore, I commit myself before God and this assembly, to the well-being of those I serve, whether in illness or in health; to use my knowledge and skills with compassion and respect; to uphold the standards of professional nursing practice with pride and diligence; and to work with others in mutual cooperation for the improvement of health care services.

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