Another faith-led army of Florence Nightingales is ready to serve. The newest graduates from Palm Beach Atlantic University’s School of Nursing were honored late Thursday in a traditional pinning ceremony to mark their transformative journey from student to nurse practitioners.
During the rite of passage — a tradition with roots in the 1880s – 55 members of the 2018 graduating class were presented with special PBA nursing pins featuring a lamp, Christian fish symbol and two crosses. Historically the nursing pin or badge and lamp have been symbols associated with Florence Nightingale, the pioneering nurse considered the founder of modern nursing.
The signature pinning ceremony inside the packed 400-seat DeSantis Family Chapel also included the announcement of several student awards and a lighting of lamps by graduates after renewing their commitment to the profession in a nursing pledge.
In an address, designated class speaker Payton Wolff, reminisced about the graduate’s nursing school journey together and the bonds they developed in the face of good, bad and difficult times.
“We’ve built a community and family between our 55 classmates,” said Wolff as their friends and family looked on. “The tears and laughs we shared together will always be cherished.”
Their dedication to nursing was evident during classes but also while volunteering in health clinics, staffing first aid stations at local races, serving in El Salvador on a mission trip and delivering care and cheer to hospitalized children during the holidays, Wolff said.
“Our dedication to quality care and nursing as a life mission is seen in all that we do,” she added. “This class is the true depiction of being the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Earning the bachelor’s degree in nursing was no small feat, but the knowledge and confidence gained has been priceless.
“When we started our nursing journeys, we didn’t even know what we didn’t know,” Wolff noted. “Our knowledge base has grown tremendously over the two years.”
PBA nursing alumna Kelly Douglas ’07 offered some encouraging words to the graduates as many prepare to embark on new careers in hospitals and healthcare centers around the country, while others opt to pursue their licensure or post graduate nursing degrees.
“The profession of nursing is dynamic… as nurses we are leaders, problem solvers and communicators,” said Douglas adding that the multifaceted role of a nurse also involves being “an educator, mediator, an advocate and friend.”
In closing, Douglas, who was among PBA’s first class of nursing graduates, told the 2018 cohort of nurses that the patients and colleagues they’ll serve will say they exude something different.
That difference she said comes from the unique opportunity of having a nursing education “deeply rooted in faith.”
During the awards presentations, senior Katie Clark, was again recognized as the Outstanding Graduate for the School of Nursing following the initial announcement of the award during a Honors Chapel in April. Jared Kingston was also celebrated as the school’s first graduate in its Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online program.
The other nursing awards presented were:
Dean’s Award: Jacqueline Freeman
Lassiter Award for Servant Leadership: Holly Knutson
Lassiter Award for Academic Excellence: Abigail Klein
Lassiter Award for Community Service: Christian Archibold
Lassiter Award for Clinical Excellence: Cody Peters
Renshaw Award: Dainelle Wilson
Lassiter Student Advocacy/Orlando Award: Mariah Armstrong