College of Nursing

Posted on Dec 19, 2019

Graduates Organize for Inaugural CRNA Pinning Ceremony

Graduates Organize for Inaugural CRNA Pinning Ceremony

The University of South Florida College of Nursing held its inaugural certified registered nurse anesthetist pinning ceremony at the USF St. Petersburg campus on Friday, Dec. 13. The event was organized and executed by the senior CRNA student organization officers, with assistance from the junior officers and staff.

The graduates’ desire for a focused ceremony was in an effort to host an event that was more personal than the larger commencement ceremony and also involved family and friends. Pinning is a traditional ceremony that symbolizes students’ entry into the nursing profession. The event is normally held for undergraduates at USF, but the student registered nurse anesthetists had no such ceremony for the culmination of their graduate coursework.

Anna Colee, CRNA graduate and social/web content chair of the student organization, said only attending USF’s university-wide commencement ceremony did not capture what she and her fellow students wanted. They wanted to do more.

Most of the 50 graduates received pins from their respective faculty advisors, while others were pinned by immediate family members who are also CRNAs.

As the students prepared to finish their coursework, they began planning the ceremony in May. Accommodating all of the family and friends in attendance became the largest issue during planning. They initially booked a venue with a capacity of 300, but the guest list ballooned to nearly 400, prompting a late change to the ballroom at the St. Pete campus.

Colee said she is not a planner by nature, but that she would go through the event planning all over again if she needed.

Academic services administrator, Susan Bucciero, assisted the students in their planning. In addition to managing 150 CRNA students, Bucciero pointed Colee and the other student organizers to the correct contacts to secure their venue. On the day of the event, Bucciero tied up last-minute logistics with USF St. Pete staff.

“She always knew the right people to contact and had answers to any questions we had,” Colee said. “If she didn’t know the answer, she was quickly able to find out. The ceremony would not have been what it was without her input and experience with organizing these types of events.”

Michelle Canale, DNP, CRNA, ARNP, director of the CRNA program, served as master of ceremonies. She applauded her students for organizing and celebrating one another, despite their personal and educational obligations.

“I was incredibly proud to be a part of their special celebration,” Canale said. “The fact that they produced this event with (Bucciero), all while completing their final board certification review course and then sitting for their board exams, is a true demonstration of just how amazing this class is.”

To add an interpersonal aspect, the ceremony included the awarding of superlatives, voted on by the graduates. Among those recognized were April Morris, voted “most likely to be a chief CRNA,” and Ryan Harvey, voted “most likely to be AANA or FANA president.”

CRNA graduate April Morris (center) receives her ‘most likely to be chief CRNA’ superlative award from Dr. Alan Todd (left) and Dr. Michelle Canale (right).

Tillman scholar Grete Cole was also among those who graduated.

Story and photos by Alex Hooper, USF College of Nursing

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