News 2019: Pinning Ceremony symbolizes transition from nursing student to professional nurse

News 2019: Pinning Ceremony symbolizes transition from nursing student to professional nurse
Pinning Ceremony symbolizes transition from nursing student to professional nurse

Graduates celebrated during 45th annual College of Nursing ceremony

Nursing student and faculty member standing together after 2019 Pinning Ceremony
Brianna Diogo '19 celebrates her nursing pinning with Clinical Assistant Professor Valerie Seney.

Faculty, friends, and family—including parents, grandparents, and one little sister— delighted in pinning College of Nursing graduates during the 2019 Baccalaureate Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

An historic tradition with roots that date back to the Crusades through the Renaissance Era and the Crimean War, the Pinning Ceremony officially marks a student’s transition into the profession of nursing. The first pinning ceremony was held at the College of Nursing in 1974, and the tradition continues with 97 students honored at this year’s event held during National Nurses Week in May.

As explained by Dean Kimberly Christopher, the pin also symbolizes service with its rights and responsibilities, students’ academic accomplishments, and a bond among nursing classmates.

As students entered the Main Auditorium holding candles and proceeded onto the stage where they would be pinned by someone special to them, a full audience was eager to celebrate the culmination of four years of nursing education on the eve of Commencement.

“This is a time of celebration for all that you have accomplished. It is a time of thanks, for all of those who helped you to work hard, to never give up, and to achieve the dream of becoming a nurse,” said Dr. Jennifer Viveiros, assistant professor of nursing.

“I speak for all of your faculty as I say congratulations for a job well done! We were honored to walk this journey with you and we are excited for all that you have to offer the profession of nursing,” Viveiros added.

Keep an open mind and heart, says Dean Christopher 

After thanking family and friends for providing the support essential to ensuring students’ success and the College of Nursing faculty for their commitment to outstanding education, Dean Christopher shared some advice with the graduates.

“For the nursing profession, these are challenging and exciting times. Nurses have and will continue to make imperative and essential contributions to the health and well-being of all members of our society,” she said.

“Graduates, I urge you to embrace these opportunities to contribute. Give them your very best effort,” Dean Christopher added. “Approach each opportunity with an open mind, open heart, a sense of humility, and a sense of humor.”

Nursing graduates Alexandra Neronah and Samantha Silveira following the ceremony
College of Nursing graduates Alexandra Neronah '19 (left) and Samantha Silveira '19 celebrate following the Pinning Ceremony.

Provost Karim tells nursing graduates “to embrace the calling”

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mohammad Karim explained one of the theories surrounding the pinning tradition.  “In the 1860s, Florence Nightingale was honored with the Red Cross of St. George for her selfless efforts in treating men injured during the Crimean War. Because she believed in acknowledging a job well done, she in turn presented a medal of excellence to her hardest working nursing graduates,” he said.

“My advice to you today is to embrace the calling, accept the sacred responsibility that society placed upon you—the duty to care for the afflicted, and the expectation that you will be a full participant in the drive to make quality health care in America and around the world accessible to all,” said Provost Karim.

Develop your nursing identity, advises keynote speaker 

Guest speaker Emma McKim Mitchell ’06, PhD, MSN, RN, recalled her student experiences in the College of Nursing, including having her mother as one of her faculty instructors. Debbie Hawkins, MS, DNS-BC was a faculty member at UMass Dartmouth for 21 years and taught her daughter in family nursing and psychiatric nursing.

Mitchell’s interest in global nursing began at UMass Dartmouth and continued while earning her doctorate in the BSN to PhD program at the University of Virginia, where she now teaches.

“My guiding philosophy, focused on capacity building in global health, began here at UMass Dartmouth,” Mitchell said. “I’m excited to learn more about the current global health experiences of UMassD students, guided by the same recognition of the importance of not dropping in and then right out of communities, but of establishing partnerships and focusing on capacity.”

She talked of the “glocal perspective,” of finding common threads in global health that have relevance in local communities here in the U.S. “Look for ways to incorporate this idea of a glocal perspective into your nursing identity. As you leave here, you’ll continue to develop skills and experiences, and all of this will lead to the development of each of your identities as nurses,” Mitchell said.

“You’re joining the most trusted profession, not because of the nursing shortage and job security because that won’t sustain you and won’t help you build your nursing identity, but because of the impact you have on people’s lives,” Mitchell added.


Assistant Professor Maryellen Brisbois standing with nursing students following pinning ceremony
Assistant Professor Maryellen Brisbois (far left) with Class of 2019 nursing graduates Victoria Santos, Lauren Beary, Arold Exhume, Hannah Canasta, and Maria Branco, Portuguese instructor for the Bridging the Atlantic program.

Following the pinning ceremony, the graduates recited the Nightingale Pledge in honor of the founder of modern nursing.

“I’m very excited,” said Jessica Dodge ‘19, who plans to work at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. “It’s been a long time coming and I’m ready to transition.”

Her classmate, Alyssa Aucoin ‘19, plans to become a children’s psychiatric nurse. “It’s been a long journey and now it’s time to pass the big test,” she said, referring to the NCLEX exam required to practice nursing.