April 19, 2004

Nurse Pinning Ceremony a Tradition at RSU

Students who receive pins at this year's nurse pinning ceremony at Rogers State University will become part of history both of the legacy of the highly respected nursing program at RSU and of the tradition of the nursing pin, which dates back more than 1,000 years.

Fifty graduates will receive pins at the annual ceremony at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 8, in Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore. The pinning ceremony will precede the university's commencement, which begins at 1 p.m. at the Claremore Expo Center.

"The pinning ceremony is designed to be ceremonial, formal and traditional," said Linda Andrews, head of the RSU Department of Health Sciences. "This is because we want to pay homage to the highly respected field of nursing and the special kind of graduate it takes to fill the shoes of a nurse."

Since it was established in 1983, the RSU nursing program has become one of the most respected programs in the state. RSU nursing graduates consistently score well above the national and state averages on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). In recent years, more than 97 percent of RSU nursing graduates passed the test on the first attempt, compared to national and state averages of 86 and 83 percent respectively.

RSU offers an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree in nursing, as well as a bridge program for paramedics or licensed practical nurses who wish to receive a two-year nursing degree and become registered nurses. RSU also offers an A.A.S. in emergency medical services.

The RSU nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. The program is housed in the Health Sciences Building, which was renovated in 1995 and features some of the most updated and cutting edge teaching equipment and clinical skills laboratories in the state, Andrews said. The program is supported by nursing and health care journals and other collections at the new Stratton Taylor Library at RSU.

More than 1,000 nurses have graduated from the RSU nursing program. Most graduates are employed at medical centers, specialty hospitals, health clinics, home health care firms and insurance companies in the Tulsa area and across northeast Oklahoma, Andrews said. Job placement rates are nearly 100 percent each year due to the consistent demand for qualified nurses.

"Demand for RSU nursing graduates is particularly high since hospitals and other health care employers are well aware of the high quality of RSU nurses," Andrews said.

At the pinning ceremony, RSU will recognize honor graduates and the year's Outstanding Nursing Graduate.

Graduates will receive a gold pin inscribed with the name of the university and engraved with a drawing of Preparatory Hall, one of the flagship buildings on the Claremore campus. The graduate's initials are engraved on the back of the pin.

"The pins are a proud symbol and tradition shared by nurses across the country," Andrews said. "Many nurses wear the pins on their uniforms throughout their careers."

The nursing pin dates back to the Crusades in Europe when many knights became nurses and joined military nursing orders that treated the sick and wounded. The knights wore black tunics over their armor, carried no weapons and wore white Maltese crosses around their necks, elements often featured on today's nursing pins.

The nursing badge, another precursor to the pin, has its roots in 1855 when Queen Victoria presented Florence Nightingale with the Cross of St. George in appreciation for her work caring for British soldiers. In the 19th Century, many hospitals in the U.S. and Europe adopted Nightingale's principles and founded special schools for nursing. Gradually, many of these schools were moved to colleges and universities and began awarding medals, badges or pins to their outstanding graduates.

For more information on the RSU nurse pinning ceremony, or the RSU nursing program, call (918) 343-7631.