Alamance Community College held an unorthodox, but celebratory pinning ceremony for its 2020 class of Associate Degree Nursing graduates as those newly-christened healthcare providers venture into new careers amidst the widespread coronavirus pandemic crisis.
The College presented nursing pins to 24 graduates in an outdoor ceremony amidst the sounds of cheers and car horns that celebrated the students’ achievements. Family and friends—nearly all donning protective masks and keeping social distancing protocols—watched the event in the parking lot of ACC’s Allied Health/Powell Building where these students have studied for the past two years.
Nursing faculty, seated six feet apart on the sidewalk facing the graduates and families, made public comments that addressed the current COVID-19 situation. The message to graduates: You are needed right now.
Most of the graduating class already have jobs lined up in the healthcare profession and will begin upon completion of the state licensing exam. In March, the students were forced to curtail on-site clinical rotations with live patients due to the pandemic. Instead, ‘virtual’ clinicals were initiated to provide an experience replicating what they missed at local hospitals.
As names were called during the ceremony, each graduate took center stage in front of the parked audience as a family member attached the nursing pin to their shirts. Nursing pins are universally recognized as the symbol of successful completion of the program.
The final act of the ceremony witnessed all pinned graduates recite simultaneously the Florence Nightingale Pledge standing next to their vehicles. The oath concludes: “…With loyalty will I endeavour to aid the physician in his work, and as a ‘missioner of health’ I will dedicate myself to devoted service to human welfare.”