College of Nursing Students “Pinned” at Virtual Ceremony
The rich tradition of welcoming the next generation of nurses continued on Thursday as the USF College of Nursing held its Baccalaureate Pinning Ceremony online amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
The 55-minute pre-recorded video premiered on YouTube with nearly 600 guests watching.
USF Health leaders and nursing faculty members ushered the 240 undergraduate nursing students into the nursing profession and celebrated the milestone with words of encouragement.
College of Nursing Interim Dean Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, saluted the faculty and students for persevering during a truly extraordinary time.
“Not only have you fulfilled your dream of becoming a nurse, but you join the health care workforce in a changed world,” said Dr. Menon.
While she hoped the college would never need to graduate another cohort during a pandemic, she assured the students that they are prepared for the path ahead.
“You are smart, competent, and compassionate, and we are confident that you are up to the challenge,” she said.
Three nursing students gave class remarks. Anthony Suda, the upper division cohort representative, reminded the group that they may be apart, but share a strong sense of camaraderie.
“If ever a single word were to describe our class, it would be resilient,” he said. “There is no doubt that our time spent on this journey has resulted in unsurmountable growth. The world is in a much different place than when we started, but so are we.”
Kelsey Worrell, the accelerated second degree cohort representative, told her fellow classmates that beginning their careers during a global pandemic guarantees they will be thrown into a challenging time, but they have the chance to make an immeasurable impact.
“USF has given us knowledge and skills, but it is up to us to bring the courage, integrity, teamwork, heart, and kindness to the front lines of patient care,” she said.
Angelica Gurreri, the V-CARE class representative, noted that while each of them came to USF from a different path, they will all leave with similar bonds.
“One thing we all have in common is dedication, compassion, and a great education, thanks to our USF and clinical faculty,” Gurreri said.
The students, many of whom were graduating with academic honors, also received awards for academic and clinical achievement.
The Academic Excellence in Nursing Award was given to Marissa Martinez, Cruz Clark, Jonathan Williams, Christopher Fisk, and Kathleen O’Brien. The Clinical Excellence Award went to Sandra Arias and Courtney Bennett.
The Nursing Leadership Award was awarded to Suda. Winners of the Nursing Service Award were Anna Hopen and Logan Marx. The Spirit of Nursing Award was given to O’Brien, and the Nightingale Award honored Hopen and Temitope Oluwayimika.
Each cohort selected a winner for the Outstanding Faculty Award, which was presented to Brittny Chabalowski, DNP, APRN, AGACNP-BC, Danielle Beasley, PhD, RN, RNC-OB, and Alicia Rossiter, DNP, FNP, PPCNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN.
Another 13 students were recognized as members of the nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau International, nine students completed the requirements for the USF Global Citizens Award, and students who have served in the armed forces were recognized with a specialized Nursing Challenge Coin.
The ceremony ended with students reciting the nursing pledge, words of advice and encouragement from faculty members, and student photos from their time at USF. Faculty noted that nursing pins, awards, challenge coins, and a keepsake program will be mailed to students.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing