Newly Pinned Nurses Offer ‘Calm Expertise and Boundless Compassion’
The University of South Florida College of Nursing celebrated 128 nursing students Thursday during a virtual Baccalaureate Pinning Ceremony, officially ushering in a new group of undergraduates into the profession during unprecedented times.
Since the continuing coronavirus pandemic prevents large in-person gatherings, the 30-minute pre-recorded video premiered on YouTube with nearly 90 guests watching.
For the 2020 Summer semester, the College of Nursing is conferring 128 undergraduate nursing degrees, 30 Master’s degrees and 14 doctoral degrees. USF Health leaders and nursing faculty members celebrated the milestone with words of encouragement.
College of Nursing Interim Dean Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, congratulated the faculty and students for persevering during a truly extraordinary time.
“Nurses have been referred to as the unsung heroes in this pandemic. While graduating during a pandemic is not ideal, for those you who will practice as new nurses in this extraordinary time, I want you to know we are proud of you,” she said.
Senior Vice President of USF Health and Dean of Morsani College of Medicine Charles Lockwood, MD, MHCM, congratulated the graduates on their hard work and resilience over the past several years.
“You will have the privilege and the challenge of entering one of the most tumultuous times for health care the planet has seen in over 100 years,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, being a nurse is both a great privilege and a grave responsibility. The world desperately needs the calm expertise and boundless compassion of nurses. Your education has prepared you for everything that lies ahead,” he said.
Lauren Bugner, president of the Accelerated Second Degree cohort, gave the class remarks. She encouraged her fellow graduates to be confident in their new skills.
“We are not only graduating in a pandemic, but we’re graduating and working on the front lines. As we step onto the floor as new nurses for the first time we will be working in a particularly unique environment,” she said.
“During these times, we must remember to not only carry our stethoscopes, but to carry the defining characteristics of kindness, bravery, understanding, compassion, and teamwork to the front lines of patient care.”
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 Daniel O’Malley, Jennifer Bennett, Rachel Cacciatore, Anette Coffman, Dana Feller, Jillian Johnson, Nathan Jones, Mary Mcquillen, Mofoluwake Ojewale, Jenna Rogers, Carrie Rozmeski, Anneliese Schmidt, Sarah Susnicki, and Robert Wilson.
The Clinical Excellence Award went to Lianicet Rodriguez-Alfonso.
The Nursing Leadership Award and the Nightingale Award were awarded to Bugner. Winner of the Nursing Service Award was Michelle Saviet. The Spirit of Nursing Award was given to Savanna Barrineau, Bugner, and Saviet.
Students gave the Outstanding Faculty Award to nursing instructor Oscar Bernard, PhD, who is director of the Accelerated Second Degree major.
Another three students — Allison Cheung, O’Malley, and Alana Shumaker — completed the requirements for the USF Global Citizens Award.
The ceremony ended with students reciting the nursing pledge and words of advice and encouragement from faculty members. Faculty noted that nursing pins, awards, and a keepsake program will be mailed to students.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing