Friends and Family of Nursing Students Gather for RIC's Pinning Ceremony

Graduate Stephanie Resendes receives her pin from Dean Jane Williams.

Graduate Stephanie Resendes receives her pin from Dean Jane Williams.

Friends and family of Rhode Island College’s graduating nursing students packed Roberts Hall on May 13 for their pinning ceremony, a tradition that welcomes them to the nursing profession.

The 77 nursing students will receive their bachelor of science in nursing degrees during the college’s commencement ceremony on Saturday (May 18).

 “The (pinning) ceremony was very meaningful and a truly joyous occasion,” said Jane Williams, dean of the Rhode Island College School of Nursing. “The pinning is a time when they really are taking on the responsibilities of the profession, and those are profound -- to provide expert, competent and knowledgeable care to people in extreme health situations and to take on the responsibility of making the world a healthier place.”

Pinning has become a symbolic ritual for new nursing graduates. Originally created by the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing in London, the tradition became widely used in the United Sates by the early 1900s.

Each nursing school’s pin is unique to its program, which ties together students who, Williams said, develop deep relationships and experiences with each other during their collegiate careers.

Williams and Yolande Lockett, department chair, presented each 2013 graduate with a pin that includes the Rhode Island College seal, a flame representing knowledgand the image of a lantern symbolizing the one that Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, once carried.

“Our pin has a beautiful meaning. It’s a symbol of (the students’) commitment to all the values of the profession that we certainly try to instill in our students,” Williams said.

Lori Keough, the former state director of nurse registration and nursing education for the Rhode Island Department of Health, delivered the keynote address, based on the student-chosen theme of “Embracing a World View.”

Keough earned her BSN and M.Ed. in Health and Community Education from Rhode Island College. She also has a Ph.D. and is an assistant professor of community nursing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.