Nurse Pinning Ceremony Marks a Milestone
In a program filled with warmth and spirit, 20 graduates of the Nurse Education Program were honored on June 6 with the traditional pinning ceremony that marks their passage into the profession. Several of them also received awards for special achievements.
Wearing a uniform of white scrubs with a PCCC Nursing insignia on the shirtsleeves, the graduates entered the PCCC Theater on the Main Campus-Paterson in a procession before an audience of family, friends, faculty, and administrators of PCCC.
This is a special day for our graduates,” said Dr. Jacqueline Kineavy, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, whose welcome message opened the program. A former nurse, Dr. Kineavy remarked that the event was special for her too. “I first came to PCCC as the director of nursing.”
Congratulating the graduates, Dr. Steven Rose, President of PCCC, joked “Boy, you all look relieved,” drawing laughter from everyone at the gathering. “There was never a more challenging time to go through the nursing program here,” said Dr. Rose in a reference to the Covid-19 pandemic and how the students had to learn, test, and perform virtually.
“But there was never a better time to be a nurse,” he continued. The president noted that the pandemic brought more recognition than ever to nurses and made clear their importance to the healthcare system. “We are very proud of you,” he added.
The featured speaker for the evening, Dr. Amy Sailer is an instructor at PCCC who has a background as a critical care nurse and recently received her PhD from Chamberlain University.
“I’m proud and honored to stand before you and say “Congratulations for a job well done,” said Dr. Sailer, who also commended the graduates for their persistence in the face of the pandemic. “I wonder if I would have been as strong,” she said. “You will be incredible nurses because of it.”
Dr. Sailer delivered nuggets of advice to the new nurses. “Continue to build your network out in the real world and be there for each other,” she said. “Be patient and treat yourself with kindness. It will not be easy.”
But Dr. Sailer also emphasized the heart of the nurse’s commitment is to put the patient’s needs first. “Work for the cause, not the applause,” she said, quoting a popular maxim.
The pinning ceremony followed with Professor Janice Rama reading the name of each graduate. One by one they stepped forward as Professor Marissa Cruise pinned the traditional gold pin to each graduate’s shirt.
Four special awards were presented in the program. The Academic Achievement Award recognizes the student with the highest GPA in the graduating class of Associate in Applied Science in Nursing Education Degrees. Professor Theresa Borovskis presented the award to Bridget Grogan.
The Professional Nursing Award is given for clinical excellence throughout the program. Professor Heather Griffiths presented the award to Elizabeth Adapoe.
The New Jersey League for Nursing Award recognizes a student’s involvement in student and community activities, particularly those related to consumer health projects. Professor Rama presented to Bridget Grogan.
The Spirit of Nursing Award is given by the U.S. Army to a candidate who demonstrates professional involvement, leadership, and academic achievement. Professor Marissa Cruise presented this award to Olga Klapiv.
The lights in the theater were dimmed for the traditional candlelighting ceremony. Each holding a lighted candle, the graduates recited in unison the International Council of Nurses’ Pledge, a moving moment led by graduate Wilson Borgono.
In her Graduate Address, Bridget Grogan exclaimed, “This day is finally here,” adding, “It did not come easily.” She pointed out that the PCCC Nursing Program is “short and intense” but prepares students well for their profession. Bridget spoke of the time and commitment needed to complete the program, thanking the faculty and also the parents, friends, and families of the graduates for their patience and understanding over the past two years
A video montage created by graduates Zach Siddiq and Rana Maark took the graduates on a journey through the past two years of their classes, labs, student activities and friendships, bringing their PCCC days to a close.
During the ceremony, Dr. Kineavy announced that current nursing student Marta Walska was the first recipient this past spring of a newly established nursing scholarship. The Professor Fang-Lan Wang Kuo Nursing Award for Academic Excellence was created to recognize academic excellence and perseverance within the PCCC Nurse Education Program.
The award honors the memory of former PCCC Faculty Member and Director of Nursing, Professor Fang-Lan Wang Kuo, and her profound impact both at the College and within the field of nurse education. The fund was established by Fang-Lan’s daughters, Lisa and Erica, along with Erica’s husband, Thomas.