Practical Nursing Program graduation honors tradition
Posted on 06/13/2019
Class of 2019 Nurses at their capping and graduation ceremonyTwenty-two students have completed the School Division’s Licensed Practical Nursing Program while another 46 students were capped or pinned to signify the end of their first nine months of the program. The students were recently honored in a ceremony.

Students entered the ceremony carrying a lamp to signify the “lamp of knowledge.” This tradition is a nod to Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. “She carried a lamp going into the night making rounds on her many patients who fought in the Crimean War,” program director Tammy Dean explained.

The School Division has hosted a practical nursing program since 1969. The program takes 18 months to complete. The first nine months, known as the pre-clinical year, is open to high school seniors and adult students. In this first year, students learn about the care of patients of all ages who are in various stages of sickness or wellness.

The pinning ceremony signifies the completion of the pre-clinical year. Female students are ‘capped’ and ‘pinned,’ but male students are only ‘pinned.’ Dean explained, “This is a large part of nursing history with Florence Nightingale and we feel it is a tradition that needs to be carried on proudly. The significance of earning the cap/pin is a statement of the nurse being ready to advance into practicing on real patients and entering their clinical phase of nursing.”

In the second nine months of the program, known as the clinical year, students spend part of their time getting hands-on experience at one of the many facilities partnering with the School Division. After completion of the 18-month program, students are eligible to take the national council licensure exam for practical nurses, known as the NCLEX-PN.

“I still have some studying to do, but they have helped us get plenty of study materials/resources,” program graduate Charlie Brill said. Brill is also a 2018 Gar-Field High School graduate.

Program graduate Aundrea Bonilla shared, “The staff cares so much about their students and really do try everything in their power to help us succeed in this program. I couldn’t have made it through this program without my friends or without the awesome instructors.”

Fourteen students have already been offered employment upon successfully passing the NCLEX-PN. Ninety percent of the graduates are planning to pursue a registered nursing certification.

The ceremony ended with the students, and all nurses in attendance, reciting the ‘Nightingale Pledge’ to confirm their dedication to nursing.