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2023 Nursing Pinning Ceremony

Nursing Grads Take the Next Step

May 15, 2023

Florida Southern College's Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences held its annual nursing pinning ceremony on May 5 at Branscomb Auditorium.

Fifty-two students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing received pins from Program Director Dr. Linda Foley.

This time-honored tradition differs from commencement, and many nurses say it is even more meaningful. The ceremony, which signifies a nurse is ready to join the profession, dates back to the Crusades in the 12th century and later when Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Royal Red Cross for her service as a military nurse during the Crimean War. By 1916, pinning ceremonies had become an established tradition in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Senior Kyle Herbers, who was among the graduates receiving their pins, plans to return to his hometown of Folsom, Calif., to pursue a career as an operating room nurse.

"The direct-entry program here at Florida Southern was instrumental in preparing me for my career, allowing me to develop my nursing skills and knowledge beginning in my freshman year," he said. "The faculty are incredibly quick to offer their experiences, and their eagerness to help us succeed in the classroom, in clinical, and after graduation is evident in every interaction. I am looking forward to giving back. Making an impact by playing a part in improving my community's health has been my mission since before I applied to nursing school. I cannot wait to make a tangible difference working in healthcare, and I know Florida Southern has prepared me to do just that."

Keynote Speaker Alice Nuttall, Associate Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at Lakeland Regional Health Center, applauded Herber’s and the dedication of all the graduates.

Nuttall expressed a goal of wanting to inspire the future nurses in attendance but said she was the one that was inspired through all the challenges that FSC's students faced in their endeavors to become nurses, including the unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic.

"You started carrying the lamp of hope for the profession of nursing long before you received your pins," Nuttall said, referring to Florence Nightingale's "The Lady with the Lamp," nickname. "You carried the lamp of hope on those hard days that you continued to show up for nursing clinicals. When you watched on the news when we had PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) shortages and we didn't know how we were going to face this as a world, as a community and as a health care profession. You leaned in and because you are here today, you are more resolute in your mission and more committed than ever to becoming a nurse."

Offering her reflections on what the nursing class achieved, senior speaker Carmen Curnell, who will begin her career at St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., shared:

"If you had told me four years ago that going to a small school called Florida Southern would have provided me with so much happiness in my life, I'm not sure I would have believed you," she said. "We all chose this place for a reason, but how we made it ours was unique. Growth is the only word that comes to mind when reflecting on our journey these past four years. Starting off as strangers, we dove into the unknown and came together as a unit."

Curnell was also recognized with the Academic Excellence Award for the highest cumulative GPA, along with Perry Davis (Lakeland), Anna Hinkle (Melbourne, Fla.), and Megan McGayhey.

The Clinical Excellence Award was given to Sophia Dattilo and Calen Callow (Albuquerque, N.M.), while the Leadership Excellence Award was awarded to Claire Winters (Lakeland).

Estefani Santos, from Lancaster, Pa., who plans to apply to pediatric residency nursing programs in the Central Florida area, emphasizes how well prepared she feels.

“The nursing program has set me up for success after graduation with the diverse clinical experiences we were provided throughout our program,” Santos said. “Also, the constant support from our professors and in-class reviews on different case studies allowed us to practice our critical thinking skills and apply our knowledge. I’m happy that I chose the Florida Southern College Nursing Program.”

The Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences houses FSC's undergraduate exercise science degree, as well as the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.