Posted on Dec 12, 2019

New Nursing Grads Pinned, Take Nursing Pledge

New Nursing Grads Pinned, Take Nursing Pledge

The University of South Florida’s College of Nursing held its traditional baccalaureate pinning ceremony Thursday, officially welcoming 22 nursing students into the nursing profession.

Students received nursing pins representing the completion of their undergraduate academic coursework and, as a group, took the nursing pledge, during a celebration at the Marshall Student Center.

College of Nursing Dean Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, congratulated the students on their academic milestone and encouraged them to be mindful of the nursing pledge.

“That pledge means so much to us,” she said. “I still am grounded by what this pledge means. So I challenge all of you to never forget what this pledge means to you. Please sometimes just remind yourself that you’re here for mankind.”

The pinning ceremony was steeped in nursing tradition. It began and ended with the alumni path of light, a procession during which alumni and faculty hold lighted candles to represent their pledge taken in the tradition of Florence Nightingale, known as the “Lady with the Lamp.”

This semester’s pinning celebration consisted mostly of student veterans in the V-CARE program, which is an accelerated nursing track that gives Army and Air Force medics and Navy corpsmen credit for military training and education. The celebration also honored members of the RN to BS program, which was designed for registered nurses to earn their bachelor’s degrees.

Marianna O’Brien, president of the V-CARE cohort, gave the class remarks.

She described how their shared military experiences helped them form an instant bond when they started the V-CARE program in the fall of 2018. It was that immediate support system that ensured no one was left behind.

“We developed friendships. We found family in each other. We figured out each other’s limits,” she said.

Over the course of 16 months, the group of veterans who represented three different branches of the military became a family, O’Brien said.

“We have come to rely on each other. We became each other’s cheerleaders. We have been even more fortunate to have had many amazing faculty members who have touched our lives and helped shape our future nursing careers,” she said.

Before the ceremony, the cohort presented V-CARE program director and Associate Professor Alicia Rossiter, DNP, FNP, PPCNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, with a class gift.

O’Brien commissioned veteran friend Anastasi Mantzouris to build a large wooden flag featuring the USF Bulls logo and the three branches of the military to commemorate the V-CARE Fall 2018 cohort.

Mantzouris owns The Dust in My Shop and is a member of the New York Air National Guard. O’Brien said he finished the custom hand-painted piece two days before being deployed to Antarctica in October.

During the pinning ceremony, students received awards for academic and clinical achievement.

The Academic Excellence in Nursing Award was given to James Nickson, Katie Anders, and Megan Higbee. The Clinical Excellence Award went to Lucas Krail and Kiara Leverson.

The Nightingale Award honored O’Brien, who announced that the Distinguished Faculty Award was being presented to Dr. Brittny Chabalowski, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC.

Students receiving the Nursing Leadership Award included O’Brien and Jennifer Drake. Winner of the Nursing Service Award was Sabrina Benarroch. And the Spirit of Nursing Award and the Grace-Gill Award were given to Nickson.

In two days, the college will confer degrees to 112 baccalaureate and 147 graduate students during the USF Health commencement convocation at the Yuengling Center.

Nursing graduate Cori Lord, a student in the RN to BS program, has been named a King O’Neal Scholar for maintaining a 4.0 GPA. At the university’s USF Health commencement, Lord will receive a certificate recognizing her accomplishment and a medallion featuring the university seal.

The award is presented by the USF Alumni Association and was created in honor of charter USF graduates Lucas King and Evelyn O’Neal.

Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing