Friends, relatives and members of the college community gathered December 16 to welcome 36 graduates of MWCC’s Practical Nursing program into the nursing profession during a traditional pinning ceremony in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center Theatre.
President Daniel Asquino provided a welcome message and congratulations from the college.
“This is an evening of celebration. We all know it wasn’t easy, but you are here and we are all proud of you. You have a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and in the lives of all those in our community.”
Associate Professor Kathleen Panagiotes delivered the keynote address, noting the students’ growth and progress throughout the rigorous, one-year program and providing encouraging words as they embark on their new careers as healthcare providers.
“Nurses are healers, they always have been. Some know how, and some learn how. But each in their own way, in their own practice, will develop an intuition, and that coupled with ever increasing ability and understanding will lead them to assisting the patient to wellness through caring and science,” Panagiotes said.
“In nursing, you certainly will be part of the team treating the person’s body and mind, and keeping the human spirit of both the patients and significant others hopeful and optimistic. You will be privy to their private joys and sorrows. And to the moments when the struggle seems to be so tiring, so weary, you the nurse will come along with a kind word, a smile, and set about to work together with the physician and the team to heal that patient’s world. As you leave here tonight, and as you begin to find your way in the world of nursing, your actions will demonstrate to all who are willing to see, that we are one humanity, that we have some invisible process that binds us together.”
Each graduate, dressed in a traditional nurse uniform, was welcomed into the profession by having a nursing pin fastened to her or his lapel by a fellow nurse – a family member, friend or faculty member. MWCC’s eight-star pin is imprinted with the words “Service to Humanity and the World” with the nursing symbol in the middle. The pin symbolizes the medal of excellence Florence Nightingale presented to the women who nursed the wounded soldiers of the Crimean War.
Pinning committee member Fiaza Qureshi spoke on the long-standing tradition of pinning ceremonies and the significance of the custom. “This is the moment when we let go of the hands of our teachers, to hold the hands of our patients.”
The ceremony also included the traditional recitation of the Florence Nightingale Pledge and lighting of a candle as a symbol of the care and devotion nurses administer to the ill and injured.
Class representative and pinning committee member Aileecia Geary and Rachel Maguy, also a member of the pinning committee, delivered student addresses. Maria Chafoya, Kayla Hamel and Jennifer Zylinski led the traditional candle lighting, which dates back to Florence Nightingale and symbolizes the care and devotion nurses administer to the ill and injured, and Emily Turner led the class in reciting the Florence Nightingale Pledge.