The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College recognized their 2017 graduates from the Holzer School of Nursing’s Hybrid LPN-RN Advanced Placement Track with a pinning ceremony Friday, August 11. Dr. Donna Mitchell, dean of the College of Professional and Technical Studies, said the students have worked hard throughout the year to succeed in the program.
“The pinning ceremony is a celebration of the nursing students’ completion of study in a program,” Mitchell said. “I’ve watch these students from their first day of the program to this point. It is a great deal of hard work. Because this is an online program, the students have spent many hours doing the work on their own, so I’m extremely proud of this group of graduates. The majority of our students stay within the region, so this gives them a chance to get a quality nursing education in the community they plan to serve as registered nurses.”
Students who complete the two-year, five-semester Hybrid LPN-RN Advanced Placement Track will earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing Technology. Students begin the program in the fall, taking courses over two fall, two spring and one summer semesters. All of the courses for this program are online with the exception of the clinical, which provides students an opportunity to get hands-on training experience in the field. Dr. Bonnie Allen Smith, Rio’s new nursing program director, said the ceremony signifies the students have successfully fulfilled the program requirements.
“This is a pathway for the students to move forward and progress in their chosen profession,” Allen Smith said. “This accomplishment is essential to the workforce they are about to enter as registered nurses. These students have a passion for nursing and will go on to do the very best they can in the field.”
The event was Allen Smith’s first experience at one of Rio’s nursing pinning ceremonies. She said she enjoyed seeing the students’ excitement and watching them light candles, a significant part of the ceremony with a long history.
“The ceremony is a tradition in nursing education that can trace back to Florence Nightingale,” Allen Smith said. “Nightingale was the Lady with the Lamp to the soldiers fighting the Crimean War. She carried the lamp to give hope to the soldiers that help was on the way and they would soon start to feel better. I think it’s great Rio includes the candle lighting tradition in the pinning ceremony because it is is a reflection of this, signifying that as nurses, we will also provide comfort and light for our patients. I know our graduates will go on to fulfill that promise.”
The faculty, administration and boards of trustees at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College congratulate these graduates for their outstanding achievement in the program and wish them the best of luck for their futures. For more information on Rio’s Holzer School of Nursing, contact the Office of Admissions at 740-245-7208.