College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Registered Nursing program celebrated and honored its 2023 graduating class during a pinning ceremony at the Nampa Civic Center Thursday, May 11. Graduates were surrounded by family, friends, and their support systems as they marked the end of a chapter in their lives and began a new one.
Kicking off the ceremony, Department Chair of Nursing, Allison Baker, welcomed and congratulated graduates for getting to this point in their education and careers. She explained the ceremony gives faculty the chance to not only acknowledge the graduates’ hard work and perseverance over the last few years but to recognize them as peers in the field of nursing.
“Congratulations to each one of you. Nursing school is tough, and you did it,” said Baker. “The long hours of studying, practicing skills, and preceptorship have culminated into this moment. Your faculty and I are extremely proud of you for forging ahead and successfully completing this program. The determination and flexibility you’ve demonstrated during this time will serve you well into your careers.”
Following Baker, graduates and guests heard remarks from CWI Provost Denise Aberle-Cannata, Adjunct Faculty and CWI Nursing alumna, Jessica Watson, and graduating Nursing student, Cayla Butler.
Butler shared memories over the last two years, from the stress of applying and being accepted into the program to their early morning clinical times in their final semester. She thanked her and her fellow graduates’ loved ones and faculty for their support through it all.
Lastly, Butler shared her appreciation for “the best cohort ever.” While they may have started this journey as strangers, she is proud and happy to call them lifelong friends with whom she shared incredible memories with.
“It has been a privilege to do nursing school with this exceptional group of people,” Butler said. “Now that we have officially documented the last two years, we can officially say that we’ve done it. Congratulations Class of 2023!”
The ceremony then honored graduate, Stephanie Opper, as the winner of the 2023 Nightingale Award. Opper was nominated by classmates for depicting the best of the nursing profession in knowledge, professionalism, ethical behavior, compassion, and dedication.
Faculty then transitioned into the pinning portion of the ceremony, which symbolizes the nursing graduates’ hard work and dedication toward their education and profession. Forty-five graduates were honored during the pinning ceremony.
Upon the conclusion of the pinning, faculty, graduates, and guests held a moment of silence in remembrance of student, Margie Lluellyn, who passed away. Lluellyn began the Nursing program in 2021 with this year’s graduates.
Faculty then honored graduates with the traditional candle lighting portion of the ceremony. It commemorates Florence Nightingale, also known as the “lady of the lamp,” which referred to how she would carry a lamp at night to make rounds on the injured soldiers during the Crimean War.
“The lighted lamp came to symbolize a nurse’s dedication to caring for patients’ needs,” said Nursing Faculty, Jen Mimish.
To conclude the ceremony, Nursing Faculty, Balenda Snow, reminded graduates of the importance of the role nurses play in the lives of others.
“You are the frontline of healthcare,” Snow said. “You are the ones who will provide comfort, support, and hope to patients and their families in times of some of their most vulnerable and darkest moments. The wise Maya Angelou once said, ‘As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body of our patients. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’”
WATCH: 2023 Nurse Pinning Ceremony
Applications for CWI’s Registered Nursing program are open through Friday, May 19. For more information on the application process and requirements, please visit the Registered Nursing page, or contact Allison Baker at email@example.com or 208.562.2307.