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Once upon a pinning ceremony


Image: Oregon Historical Quarterly

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in time before budget cuts, before furlough days and tuition hikes, my nursing school paid for each class’s pinning ceremony. Everything was fine and dandy, a standard ceremony, traditional candle lightning, the nightingale pledge, and of course the pins! And every graduate was happy. But one year, a class decided to do something different. Everyone wanted to wear old fashioned nursing caps. So they begged and pleaded, but the nursing school said, “oh no you di-in’t! And if you want caps, you can pay for them all by yourself!” The nursing class said, “Fine! We’re not afraid of you! We’ll pay for the whole ceremony ourselves!” And the class raised their own money and had their own ceremony, nursing caps and all. And for all the classes that followed, whether they wanted caps or not, each class had to raise their own money and plan their own pinning ceremony. And so it was, and so it has been, and so it continues to be.
Dear nursing class that just had to have their own caps – THANKS A BUNCH!

We have a pinning ceremony to plan. It’s the one day we’re looking forward to, we’ve been anticipating it since we started the program, that one day we’ll join the ranks with the rest, pledging ourselves in solidarity with all the nurses that came before us. I’m excited for it (only 8 months to go), but honestly, it’s a whole lot less exciting when you have to plan it yourself. As class co-president, part of my responsibility is figuring it all out, the venue, the time, will there be food, drinks, what kind of ceremony do we want, how many speakers, and of course – how much is it going to cost us. We have to tally up class dues, and plan fundraisers, and of course make everyone (or as many people as we can!) happy, since it’s OUR day. I love it. I really do, and I like that we have a say in what we want for OUR day (not that we want nursing caps). But between studying for all our classes, and ATI tests, and clinical papers and staying on top of everything else, I feel like it would be nice if the school of nursing could help us out and plan something for us. I mean, planning a pinning ceremony is like throwing wedding plans on top of it all. It’s stressful, and adds one more financial  burden on our classmates, something none of us need at this point, but we’re getting there. Slowly but surely the fundraising is working, the dues are getting paid, and plans are being laid out. It’s going to be a good one, but sometimes I wish I could go back in time and told that class that having nursing caps really just wasn’t THAT important!

Students – what do you do for your pinning ceremony? Does the school fund it for you? Or is it up to you?

Ani Burr, RN
I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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