Ask any nurse and they will tell you, graduating from nursing school is unlike any other challenge in life.
“No one understands it unless they’re in it,” said Britini Harjo, who will graduate from OSU Institute of Technology’s Nursing program on Friday. “It’s not like other college degree programs.”
Fellow nursing school classmate Taylor Shatwell agrees.
“I had no idea what I was getting into. I’ve never worked so hard for something in my entire life,” she said.
The 18 students graduating this semester with an Associate in Applied Science in Registered Nursing will celebrate their accomplishment at a pinning ceremony on Friday, April 22 at 10 a.m., in Covelle Hall.
The pinning ceremony is a nursing school tradition that dates back to the 19th century. Each graduate is recognized individually as a member of their family affixes the OSUIT nursing school pin to their uniform.
“Graduate nurses have proudly displayed on their uniform the pin that represents their individual school of nursing,” said Jana Martin, dean of OSUIT’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences. “The nurse’s graduation pin is a treasured symbol that conveys to others an association and everlasting bond with his or her school.”
That bond is what kept Harjo in the rigorous program.
“It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. The people we did it with made it worth it,” she said. “I’ll miss the people; the stress I will not miss.”
Shatwell said she’s thankful not only for her classmates who helped her get to the pinning ceremony, but the instructors as well.
“I feel so lucky to have the instructors we’ve had. The instructors are like our nursing moms,” she said. “I like that the teachers know you. In a huge nursing program, there’s no way the director of the school knows your name, but here she does. I will miss the support of the people here.”
Harjo said the pinning ceremony likely won’t be the last time her instructors hear from her.
“You can come to them about anything. Even once we graduate we can still get in touch and ask for their advice,” she said.
Still, both said they feel prepared and ready to start their nursing careers.
“I’m so excited. I never thought this day would come. I’m the first one in my family to graduate from college,” said Harjo, who will work on the orthopedic floor of the OSU Medical Center in Tulsa.
“Finally our new chapter is here,” said Shatwell, who will work in the labor and delivery department of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. “I can see my future coming together.”