While most other college students spent June and July taking a break from classes, GW Nursing’s first summer start cohort of accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) students were busy finishing their coursework and clinical experiences.
Beginning the 15-month accelerated BSN option in the summer means students finish at the end of the following summer. These 47 students, as well as three students from GW Nursing’s online RN to BSN option, were welcomed into the nursing profession on August 13 with a traditional pinning ceremony.
The tradition of pinning nursing graduates dates back to Florence Nightingale, who presented medals to her hardest-working nurses. It’s now a tradition for all newly graduated nurses to receive a pin from their nursing schools in recognition of graduation. A faculty member or nurse of the student’s choice “pins” the student.
While pinning itself is a nursing school tradition, in many other ways this class reflects a much more modern nursing profession.
Two men were pinned by their female partners, both nurses themselves.
Fourteen percent of the cohort were men, 20 percent Asian, 10 percent Hispanic/Latino and nine percent African-American. Two of the students are military veterans. The diverse cohort enters an overwhelmingly white, female profession.
“Becoming and being a nurse is one of the most frightening things you’ll ever do,” said Dr. Marissa Jamarik, the chief nursing officer of Inova Loudoun Hospital, in her keynote address. “The measure of a mistake that a nurse can make can mean the difference between life or death.”
She described her journey from the bedside to the boardroom and encouraged students to believe in themselves.
The graduating students seemed eager to rise to her challenge.
“To whom much has been given, much will be demanded,” said Elizabeth Glynn, who represented her cohort as student speaker.
“We are not just people sitting side by side in a classroom. We are friends, we are advocates for our patients, we are leaders in this new age of health care and today we are nurses,” Glynn said to great applause.