College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Practical Nursing program recognized and celebrated its 2023 Graduates with a pinning ceremony at Saint Alphonsus McCleary Auditorium on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. Family, friends, and esteemed guests filled the room, exuding pride in and excitement for their graduates.
Allison Baker, Department Chair of Nursing, kicked off the ceremony by acknowledging the sacrifices and determination each graduate has demonstrated through this rigorous educational journey. She added the perseverance and adaptability these students maintained throughout the program will prove useful as they embark on their careers as nurses.
As these graduates head into the workforce, Baker reminded them, “Nursing is not merely a profession, it is a calling to make a difference in the lives of others during their most vulnerable moments. Your hands will not only administer medication but will also offer comfort and solace. Your presence will be a source of strength to those in pain and your knowledge will be a beacon of hope in times of uncertainty.”
In addition to Baker, CWI Provost Denise Aberle-Cannata, offered encouraging remarks, followed by graduating students, Karla Jay Johnson and Chelsea Saenz.
Johnson acknowledged the many supporters who helped each graduate make it to such a momentous occasion, recognizing coworkers who stepped up at work and family members who made sure the day-to-day responsibilities were taken care of so studies could be prioritized. She then recognized her classmates, saying, “This group of friends who have become family have held each other up and held each other accountable.”
Saenz, who was chosen by her peers to receive the Nightingale Award, reminisced with her classmates about the rigor of this program, relating that none of this would have been possible without the caring faculty members whom Saenz thanked, saying “Thank you for all your dedication and time you’ve poured in to help us become successful not only throughout this program, but as we start our nursing careers."
Faculty transitioned to the final part of the ceremony, the pinning. Baker explained the importance of this, “The pinning ceremony itself is a time-honored tradition that signifies the transition from student to practitioner. The pin you will receive today is a symbol of your entry into the lineage of nursing professionals. It represents the trust that society places in you, the responsibility you bear, and the impact it will have on the lives of countless individuals.”
Graduates each chose a special person to present their pins to them, some choosing their own children, parents, or friends, while others chose their significant other or a favorite faculty member.
Through laughter, tears, and numerous moments of mixed emotion, the ceremony concluded, and Baker congratulated the students and stating, “Your dedication, resilience, and passion have brought you to this moment. As you wear your pin with pride, may it serve as a reminder of the path you've chosen and the lives you're destined to impact”.