Skip to main content

Pinning Ceremony Symbolizes MC Senior Nursing Students’ Ascension to Professional Health Care Ranks

Jordan Owen, instructor in nursing at Mississippi College, considers the Pinning Ceremony to be among the most important events in the lives of nursing school graduates.
Jordan Owen, instructor in nursing at Mississippi College, considers the Pinning Ceremony to be among the most important events in the lives of nursing school graduates.

As a certified Critical Care Registered Nurse, Jordan Owen cherishes being part of the Mississippi College School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

When the MC instructor in nursing and coordinator for the senior-semester students ushers them into Provine Chapel at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14, for the ceremony, she’ll be reminded of the day she received her pin.

“As someone who has been through a pinning as a student and now as a faculty member, the event is important to me and to the MC School of Nursing faculty,” said Owen, who received her B.S.N. and her M.S.N. from the University of Mississippi School of Nursing. “We have all been pinned at some time in our education and careers, so we understand how personal it is to the students.

“The pinning ceremony is symbolic of the students stepping out of the role of the student and into the role of the nurse.”

The ceremony takes place separately from MC’s Winter Commencement so that School of Nursing students can share their academic achievements with their respective families. The event is so revered that many students place the pinning on par with graduation, according to MC School of Nursing Dean Kimberly Sharp.

“This ceremony is included in schools of nursing across different states and in different countries,” said Sharp, who will give the Commencement Address during the ceremony. “The pin is distinctive for each school. It’s a special validation of what the wearer has gone through – a rite of passage – to become a nurse.

“The ceremony is a way of helping students reflect on their legacy and to know they have a body of people who are caring for and praying for them, that they are now colleagues together, and that they can receive support and encouragement from those new colleagues. The ceremony lets them know they are joining something larger than themselves.”

In addition to the distinctive pin, each graduating senior-semester student will receive a second emblem firmly rooted in the Christian University’s tradition: a yellow rose. Roses were presented to members of the first graduating class 50 years ago, and it’s remained a tradition championed by Susan Richardson, a member of that original class, ever since.

“The tradition of the pins and roses is how we remind students of the legacy they’re joining,” Sharp said. “That is explained to them during the ceremony, and then the students recite the School of Nursing Creed. A representative of the senior class reads the class verse, and we have special music to commemorate the occasion.”

Sharp will then address the senior class members for the final time.

“This is the last opportunity I have to connect with them directly,” she said. “The Lord has called these students to the Ministry of Caring. We’ve focused on that throughout their clinical courses.

“I’m conscious of the fact that there may be family and friends at the ceremony who might never darken the door of a Christian facility apart from supporting their loved one. It’s the last time to share with them why we are a faith-based school and what it means for these graduates to use their gifts and their profession to represent MC and carry out their duties to help others.”

Following the Commencement Address, inductees into Sigma Theta Tau, the national honor society for nursing, and the recipient of the Linda Cotton Haddock Scholarship will be recognized. The students will participate in the Blessing of the Hands to consecrate them into the ministry of nursing, and as each of their names are called, they will come forward to receive their pin and rose. A Benediction will conclude the ceremony, and a reception will take place at 5:15 p.m. in Alumni Hall.

“The students take this very seriously, and the symbolism is not lost on them,” Owen said. “This is an opportunity for them to stand in front of their family and friends, separate from their class, and acknowledge that their duties as nurses have begun.

“The pinning provides an opportunity for the pinning faculty to look at each student individually and say, ‘Congratulations.’”

Owen said the ceremony is also meaningful to the School of Nursing alumni and faculty in attendance.

“We’ve watched these students grow and evolve, and the ceremony is a culmination of their time here,” she said. “This year, one of our faculty, Deborah Welch, is celebrating the 45th anniversary of her graduation from the program. It is especially meaningful for her to explain the significance of the pins to the students and the guests.

“We have other faculty who like to line the students up for the processional, because it means they get to spend extra time with them. Being a part of the ceremony is important to the faculty because we’ve all put time and effort into the students and are excited to see them receiving the honor of being pinned.”

“I think it adds a personal touch that each faculty member who has been part of the students’ nursing journey is able to communicate a little piece of themselves at the ceremony,” Sharp said.

All semester, the students have expressed excitement about participating in the ceremony, Owen said.

“It is very personal to the students and their families, and they are recognized in a way that isn’t possible in the larger setting of Commencement,” she said. “It serves as the bookend to their time here with us. It’s when they realize they are finished with their training and are no longer student nurses, but are about to become real nurses.

“It’s always an emotional time. Many of the students take the opportunity to show their families and friends around campus, the rooms they learned in, and the simulation areas. They are proud of what they’ve accomplished and excited to share everything they’ve been through these last few years.”