There are few things more inspiring than watching learners become registered nurses. There’s a distinct hush in the audience as they move their tassels. There is the normal feelings that accompany graduation – the feelings of pride, accomplishment, and self-mastery, but there is something more. It’s a knowledge that these 68 learners are joining such a noble profession, a profession whose members will bring comfort and healing to all of humanity. It’s a realization that, at some point, these very nurses could be standing over you as you lay sick in a hospital bed. It’s both humbling and awe-inspiring.

 

Moving the tassels, however, is one of the last steps of the event. The event begins with a very different atmosphere – the faculty and graduates enter the room, amidst cheers, whoops, and whistles of those who have come to wish them well.

Then comes the faculty and learner addresses. This year’s faculty address was given by Carrie Leone, an assistant professor in the ADN Program. She spoke on the power of positivity and avoiding fear. “The feeling of fear and the feeling of excitement are the same feeling,” she said. “So you can choose. Do you want to be afraid, or do you want to be excited?” She explained that in nursing, there are many situations that will take a nurse by surprise, and in that moment, they can choose to learn, or choose fear. What a great message! Watch the video of her speech below.

 

The learner address was from spotlighted learner Jennifer Coffield, who was filmed in the documentary “The Bad Kids,” and who overcame extreme odds to complete high school.

 

President and CEO Mikhail Shneyder saw her story on the film, and, with approval from the board, offered Jennifer a full-ride scholarship to become a nurse at Nightingale College. Watch the trailer for “The Bad Kids” below.

 

 

Next on the list, the graduates received their nursing pins from those individuals who had a profound effect on their nursing journey. This person is usually a family member or spouse, but in the case of Dawit Ghabritzi, a refugee from Eritrea,  Nightingale admissions manager Stacie McVay was the one he chose to present him with this honor.  McVay who was his advisor and motivated him to enroll. “She changed my life,” he said. It was a special moment.

 

The lighting of the lamps was next, a reverent ordeal in which the Nightingale graduates light each of their lamps to symbolize the lamp that Florence Nightingale tirelessly carried to and from each sickbed. They then repeat the Nightingale Pledge.

 

Brian Beach was recognized as the class valedictorian this semester for achieving the highest score on the Level 4 Exit HESI.  The Nightingale College awards were also presented. Maranda Nelson, Karlie Laub and Anona Mikelson received the Community Fellow Award for their dedication and service as volunteers. Rebecca Moulin was presented with the FLAME! FORWARD! Award. The FLAME! FORWARD! Award is given to learners who have gone above and beyond our expectations. Faculty members nominate students for the FLAME! FORWARD! Award when they feel a learner exemplifies all the seven values of the college.

 

The big event, the procession and reading of the names, was done with roaring applause from the audience. This process was done alphabetically, which means that husband and wife Wyatt and Hailey Argyle were called in succession. Cheers from their family filled the hall when Shneyder announced their names together.

 

In-depth feature stories about spotlighted learners will be released soon.

 

We are deeply honored to have been a part of these nurses’ journey. Congratulations, nursing graduates, and we hope to see you again in our RN-to-BSN Program!