Best wishes, wise words launch nurses’ careers

Penn State Mont Alto College of Nursing holds annual Pinning Ceremony
Mont Alto nursing students read the "Nightingale Pledge."

Nursing students read the 'Nightingale Pledge' after being pinned during the Penn State Mont Alto College of Nursing's annual Pinning Ceremony.

Credit: Debra Collins

MONT ALTO, Pa. — The Penn State Mont Alto College of Nursing held its annual Pinning Ceremony on May 5 in the Multipurpose Activities Center (MAC). Thirty nursing students were pinned by family or faculty members of their choosing and took the “Nightingale Pledge.” Words of congratulations and best wishes were offered by Instructor in Nursing Susan Wells, the ceremony’s featured speaker. A class gift and the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) Leadership Award were also presented.

Carranda Barkdoll, instructor in nursing and program coordinator, welcomed the crowd, saying the celebration highlighted not only 23 years of excellence in nursing at Penn State Mont Alto but also the American Nurses Association (ANA) National Nurses Week, which begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12 — Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The 2016 theme for Nurses Week embraces “Creating a Culture of Safety.”

Barkdoll also pointed out that the class of 2016 is the last cohort to graduate from Penn State Mont Alto with an associate degree in nursing. To meet the future of nursing practice and projected employment patterns, Penn State is transitioning its associate in nursing programs to bachelor’s programs.

Chancellor Francis K. Achampong issued the class a challenge: “Being the last class to graduate from the associate degree program is historic and comes with a tremendous responsibility,” he said. “I want to tell the next class that you had a 100 percent pass rate in your licensure exams. I look forward to handing you your diplomas during commencement.”

Nursing students Staci Freedman, Abigail Turner and Brandon King introduced the faculty members to the audience and announced the class gift — a tablecloth with the College of Nursing mark.

Freedman received the PSNA District 15 Leadership Award from Barkdoll, saying “I am proud to present this as the adviser to the Penn State Mont Alto Nurses Club to Staci, who serves as its president.”

Wells began her speech by acknowledging family and friends who supported the students throughout their studies and then issued some advice as they embark on their professional journeys.

She urged them to remember and apply what they learned as Penn State students and to seek out experienced nurses and good role models and learn from them.

“The expectations for nurses are high,” she said, “and it can be difficult to live up to them. However, each day you wake, you must find the strength and the conviction to live up to those expectations for the benefit of the patients you will be caring for. … Try to keep present in your mind the reason you entered this profession and know that every patient needs you to be their strong advocate.”

Wells asked the students to always be valuable team members, to treat others the way they would want to be treated, and to take care of themselves so they can continue to be effective caregivers.

“Love your family, your friends, your job and, most importantly, yourselves,” she said. “I leave you with a quote from A.A. Milne: ‘You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,'” she said. 

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