Students in OSU Institute of Technology’s Nursing program have mixed feelings as their pinning ceremony and graduation loom just a few days away.
“I’m ready to be done, but I’ve become attached to all these people, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to everyone yet,” said Heather Kirk.
Kirk is one of 17 nursing students that will graduate Friday, Dec. 15, and take part in a pinning ceremony that same day at 10 a.m. in Covelle Hall. Pinning ceremonies are a nursing school tradition that dates back to the 19th century.
“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.”
The pinning ceremony can be emotional for the graduates as well as the faculty.
“We haven’t gone to one yet that we haven’t ended up crying,” Martin said. “Nursing school is extremely difficult. It is nice to see the students with their family members celebrating this momentous occasion.”
Jonathan Shearer, who worked as a licensed practical nurse for 10 years before enrolling in OSUIT’s nursing program, said he knows he’ll be emotional during the ceremony.
“I’m excited about it. I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervousness,” Shearer said.
Kirk remembers her first year in the program and attending the pinning ceremonies of previous graduating classes.
“It’s kind of cool to see what you’re working toward, the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
And it can be a long, tough tunnel to get through in two years.
“It was a different way of thinking,” said Jared Shelton. “It was like learning a new language.”
All three said the hard work was worth it to now be ready to really help people when they need it most.
“I’ve wanted to be a nurse since high school,” Shearer said. “I like the overall challenge of giving everything you got. You take care of the whole patient— the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of a person.”
The motivation was even more personal for Kirk and Shelton.
“I’ve always wanted to be in healthcare. My little sister spent a few weeks in the hospital, and that sealed the deal,” Shelton said.
Deciding to go to nursing school was a complete career change for Kirk who left a business-related job in order to become a nurse.
“When my dad went through chemotherapy, I saw the impact nurses and healthcare workers have on patients,” she said. “When I saw the impact nurses had on me and my dad, I saw the how much more the good outweighs the sad.”