RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College recognized 34 Class of 2018 graduates from the Holzer School of Nursing’s Hybrid LPN-RN Advanced Placement Track with a pinning ceremony Friday, Aug. 10.
Dr. Donna Mitchell, Dean of the College of Professional and Technical Studies, said the students have done extremely well in this hybrid program.
“The pinning ceremony is a celebration of the nursing students’ completion of this program. Many students hold the pinning ceremony in very high esteem and remember it the rest of their lives. This program requires dedication and a great deal of study time. Because this is an online program, the students have spent many hours doing the work on their own, so I’m extremely proud of this group of graduates,” Mitchell said. “The majority of our students stay within the region, so this gives them a chance to get a quality nursing education in the community they plan to serve as registered nurses.”
Students who complete the two-year, five-semester Hybrid LPN-RN Advanced Placement Track earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing Technology. Students begin the program in the fall semester, taking courses over two fall, two spring and one summer semesters. All of the program’s courses are online with the exception of the clinical, which provides students an opportunity to get hands-on training experience in the field. The recent graduates from this year’s class will now prepare to sit for their RN licensure exam, a requirement to enter the workforce as registered nurses. Nursing Program Director Bonnie Allen Smith, Ph.D., RN, said she congratulates the students for their hard work and is excited to see where their careers lead them.
“I am proud of this group’s accomplishments. They have done exceptional work in their classes and clinicals, and they will continue to do great things in the field,” Allen Smith said. “The LPN-RN Hybrid program allows students to work toward their RN degrees online, and we are one of very few nursing schools that offer the opportunity for students to take their courses online at this level. It’s extremely important to the Holzer School of Nursing to be able to offer this program because we can give community healthcare professionals the opportunity to seek higher education that fits into their work schedules and family lives.”
The pinning ceremony for nursing graduates has a long history dating back to the Crimean War. The event is symbolic of the medals awarded by Florence Nightingale to nurses who helped her care for soldiers during the war. The candle lighting portion of the ceremony reflects Nightingale’s role as the Lady with the Lamp, giving hope to the soldiers that help was on the way and that they would soon begin to feel better. Allen Smith said the event signifies the students have successfully fulfilled the program requirements. She said she enjoyed seeing the students’ excitement and watching them light candles, a significant part of the ceremony with a long history.
“The ceremony is a tradition in nursing education that can trace back to Florence Nightingale. I think it’s wonderful Rio includes the candle lighting tradition in the pinning ceremony because it signifies that as nurses, we will also provide comfort and light for our patients. I know our graduates will go on to fulfill that promise,” Allen Smith said. “This was a beautiful ceremony. It’s always wonderful to see the students as well as their families and friends and our boards of trustees and faculty all come together to celebrate the hard work of the students.”
Two students received scholarship awards at the ceremony. Katosha Noe of Winfield, W.Va., was awarded the Highest GPA Award through Holzer Medical Center, and Dalline Fields-Adkins of Huntington, W.Va., was recognized with the Merrill L. Evans Spirit of Nursing Award.
For more information on Rio’s Holzer School of Nursing, contact the Office of Admissions at 740-245-7208.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist at the University of Rio Grande.