Following years of hard work, countless exams and thousands of hours of clinical training in local health care facilities, sixty-nine graduates of Brookdale’s Nursing Program received some well deserved recognition on May 15 during the Spring 2017 Nursing Pinning Ceremony.
After receiving diplomas during the college’s 2017 Commencement Ceremony three days prior, the graduates were presented with official Brookdale nursing pins in front of a large crowd of family members, friends, faculty, advisors and college officials gathered in the Collins Arena.
“This is one of my favorite ceremonies of the entire year, because we not only have the opportunity to celebrate our students’ accomplishments, but we also have the opportunity to thank you all for dedicating yourselves to the noblest profession of all,” said vice president for student success David Stout. “Thank you for healing us, thank you for the impact that you have on our communities, for your hard work, for you perseverance, and for your selflessless. You make us proud.”
The ceremony began with a welcome address by 2017 nursing graduate Jessica Wayne, who reminisced on the long, challenging road through one of Brookdale’s most demanding courses of study.
“Nursing school is not for the faint of heart,” said Wayne. “Those of us who are here, we have fought hard. We bounced back from life issues that threatened to pull us down, we pushed forward when we got the test grade we thought we couldn’t come back from. We persisted despite any outward circumstances that stood against us, and now here we are. This has been the primary goal for the past few years of our lives, and we’ve made it.”
Other speakers, including Health Sciences Institute dean Jayne Edman, nursing director Mary Ehret and graduate speaker Yve Massre, took time out to thank the family members, faculty, staff, counselors, and other supporters who had helped the graduates earn their spot on the stage.
“A mere thank you is not nearly enough,” said Massre. “You have forever imprinted my life, my future and my heart.”
The ceremony also featured a keynote address by Brookdale nursing professor Gail Harrigan, who was selected by the graduating class to serve as guest speaker. In her final nursing pinning ceremony before retirement, Harrigan implored the graduates to set long-term educational and professional goals and to use their experiences from nursing school to propel them to great heights.
“Persistence, grit and determination are much more valuable in lifelong work and in learning than innate talent and intelligence,” Harrigan said.
“Several of you have returned to school after giving up as a younger person or failing out of another nursing program or delaying this pursuit because of competing priorities, or making a huge change in your career. But your mindset, as you sit here tonight, was to persist until you achieved success. I cannot stress to you enough how important maintaining that attitude will be in moving forward in your career.
“I was going to conclude my speech by saying good luck, but I remembered that it’s not about luck,” Harrigan added. “Go out there and make it happen for you.”
To a roar of cheers from the crowd, the graduates then stepped to the podium one by one to affix an official Brookdale nursing pin to the lapel of one of their classmates.
Edman and Ehret also recognized 15 students who were inducted into the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Chapter, for maintaining a 3.0 GPA and completing public health community service projects for local students, community members and nonprofit organizations. Nursing graduate and Brookdale Student Nurses Association member Tracey Cahill was also recognized for receiving a 2017 Outstanding Student Award at Brookdale’s Commencement Ceremony on May 12.
In her farewell address, graduate Caroline Bucca reflected on the rigors of the Brookdale nursing program and the weight of the responsibility that lay before the class of 2017.
“The truth is that comfort and growth don’t mix. One must be set aside to make room for the other,” Bucca said. “Nursing school will change you. The way you see the world starts to shift… If we accidentally shift a decimal place, it’s not a tax refund that changes. It’s potentially someone’s life. It’s for this reason that the faculty had to push us as hard as they did. We needed to be taught and tested to ensure that we would be worthy of the weight of a patient’s wellbeing.
“This degree was not handed to us,” Bucca added. “It was earned… Getting to know the graduates in this room better, I have zero doubt that this cohort, this graduating class, has the ability to forever change and better health care. I am so proud of your achievement, and I have been absolutely blessed to be on this journey with you. Congratulations to the 2017 nursing graduates.”
View the full list of graduates and honorees here.
Learn more about the Brookdale Nursing Program here.
Check out more photos of the Spring 2017 Nursing Pinning Ceremony here.