My Nursing Pinning Ceremony

I’m definitely still trying to catch up on my post-graduation blogs and photos, so please bear with me. Exactly a month ago on June 21, 2018, as part of the completion of my nursing program, we had a pinning ceremony where we received our pins, lamps, and took our nursing oath. This event had much more meaning to me than graduation. Mostly because it’s limited to my cohort alone and, of course, it’s my oath-taking.

The night before pinning I picked up my best friend who was flying in from Atlanta at LAX. We then made a 45 minute drive to my friend’s house who was hosting a “hang” or “kick back” but in all reality it was a party. To say the least, the morning of pinning I was exhausted. Having  a little over an hour of sleep, I was still able to muster up the energy to drag my best friend on a 6 AM morning hike.

When we returned my mom asked me to drive her to DTLA to buy flowers for me  and we quickly rushed back so I could get ready for pinning. I had to be there an hour earlier than the grads to help with set up as one of our cohort’s pinning representatives. Once the ceremony was T-minus 1 hour, time flew by even faster. We were trying to take all the pre-ceremony photos we could and then seated ourselves in the seats I had saved for my friends. The ceremony started promptly and we were lead with introductory messages from our deans before receiving our pins and lamps.

Once everyone received their pins and lamps and we took our oaths, I had the distinct opportunity to speak on behalf of my class. Strangely enough as I had written the speech about a month earlier, it wasn’t as hard as I was thinking it was going to be to write. We all had at least two-ish years at the minimum of this journey. None of our stories were exactly the same, but we definitely shared some commonalities.

So here was my speech:

On behalf of the June 2018 Cohort, to our loved ones who are here today, thank you for being here to witness this milestone in our lives. Not only are we celebrating the completion of this Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, we are celebrating each of you today for your role in helping us get here. We are thrilled you are here with us and eternally grateful.

Today, we make our pledge to this profession to be ethical nurses who have a responsibility to our patients and also to the people we work with. Not one journey or experience here was the same. But I am sure we can all attest that it has been an incredible rollercoaster, where each and every one of us has had our limits tested, our resilience discovered, and have come to the realization that we are not on this journey alone. Thank goodness for that because it certainly has not been easy.
It was our choice to enter a rigorous, accelerated BSN program. We were motivated by the inspiring people or circumstances that brought us here. Whether it was a longtime dream, coming from a family of nurses, receiving exceptional nursing care yourself or a loved one, or for the stability of the job. You have chosen to enter one of the most rewarding professions that provides service and care to patients where sometimes the simple offering of one’s self is more than enough.

As many of us are saying goodbye to campus life, we can now look forward to not having to wake up before the crack of dawn to snag a study room, yelling “not it” over who is making the next coffee run, debating over taking the elevator or stairs to the second floor, and making sure we have our stethoscope, ATI and drug books, and a working watch and penlight for SIMS – I always had a spare if you didn’t.
During this program, we were challenged by setbacks, detours, and losses. But we were able to continue with the support given by family, friends, peers, and instructors – some of which are in this room with us today or outside waiting. In times of tremendous stress, we have developed various coping mechanisms that have allowed us to keep our sanity intact – from spending time with your family, friends, or fur babies, binging on your favorite TV shows, bawling over your go-to tearjerker movie, working out hard at the gym, working vigorously on your fantasy basketball and football teams, late night online shopping, trying to keep Snapchat streaks alive, or utilizing your “crying corner” on campus. One way or another, we coped, we persevered, and here we are all now.

I have been fortunate enough to encounter some of the most genuine and passionate future nurses. Peers that have become friends are now family that I would trust the lives of my own flesh and blood with. Being able to embark and witness your nursing journey, with the love and devotion you have developed for the profession, has been an absolute joy to watch and participate in.
My hats off to all of you, future nurses. You made it! You are another step closer to what you have worked so hard to achieve.

My wish for you all as you enter your respective careers is to keep your minds open. Welcome what others ahead have to offer you and continue to learn. Your potential for greatness is vast. Continue to invest in your education, whether it is taking every learning opportunity and applying it in practice or diving back in and furthering your degree. The knowledge you have today and in the future is something that can never be taken from you. So, stay teachable.

Today, you are better than your yesterday. Tomorrow, you will be better than your today.

My grandfather once said, “K.C., although there will be days that no matter how hard you try two and two won’t equal four, simply remember ‘I am. I can. I will.’” So, be better. Be great. Be the best nurse you can ever possibly be.

Congratulations, June 2018 cohort! It has been an extreme pleasure to have worked alongside you all, and I am humbled that you entrusted this speech to me. Good on the NCLEX. Thank you.

June 21, 2018

It took everything in me to try and keep my marbles together, but the moment I got to the part about my grandfather, it was much too hard to control the tears. In the moment, I feel like my grandparents were in that room cheering me on.

Once I was done, I tried quickly to dry my tears and sprinted towards my seat. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I saw the overwhelming support I had from my peers and friends. Such a humbling experience.

After the ceremony, I felt I was being pulled 20 different ways ensuring I was taking pictures with those I missed out on at grad and meeting family members of my core people.

Pinning was everything I was hoping it was going to be. I’m glad it ended on such a bittersweet note.

Till next time.

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