August 10, 2007

Pin ceremony honors VUSN students

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School of Nursing Dean Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., right, looks on as newly pinned Barbara Bryant is congratulated by her grandmother, also named Barbara Bryant. (photo by Neil Brake)

Pin ceremony honors VUSN students

Anila Bhimani, after the ceremony, with her flower-bearing nephew, Saad Mohammad, and niece, Ankka Mohammad. (photo by Neil Brake)

Anila Bhimani, after the ceremony, with her flower-bearing nephew, Saad Mohammad, and niece, Ankka Mohammad. (photo by Neil Brake)

Natalie Owen, right, and Lauren Pearce wave to family members. (photo by Neil Brake)

Natalie Owen, right, and Lauren Pearce wave to family members. (photo by Neil Brake)

More than 200 Vanderbilt University School of Nursing students received their professional pins of Nursing at a ceremony on Sunday.

VUSN Dean Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., welcomed a crowd of more than 2,000 family members and supporters to the ceremony, held at Belmont's Curb Center due to construction at Langford Auditorium.

“When I came to Vanderbilt more than 23 years ago, we decided to try something different by allowing various entry points for students to become advanced practice nurses,” said Conway-Welch. “I'm so pleased that every year with our pinning ceremony that dream comes true.”

VUSN's program begins and ends in August. The pinning ceremony is a way to formally recognize students when they finish the program, and many students also choose to return to campus for Vanderbilt's official commencement celebration in the spring.

“No matter where your education and interests take you, you will always have a strong connection to Vanderbilt,” said Conway-Welch.

Linda Norman, D.S.N., R.N., senior associate dean for Academics, explained the meaning behind the professional pin, a tradition that dates back to the 1880s.

“The pin of each School of Nursing is unique, and only graduates of that school may wear the pin as a statement that they have completed that program,” Norman said. “It is a symbol that dates back to Florence Nightingale and represents pride and individual achievement.”

During the ceremony, students in each specialty area in the school were recognized with awards for excellence in their area of focus, presented by their program director:

• The Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program recognized Bridget Burke;

• Jessica Van Meter was honored in the Adult Nurse Practitioner Program;

• Amy Brin was the top student in Clinical Management;

• The Family Nurse Practitioner Program Award went to Dewonia King;

• The Health Systems Management Award was given to Diane Johnson, manager of the Neuroscience Patient Care Center for VUMC;

• David Haggard II was chosen from the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program;

• Andrea Delmotte was chosen as the Nursing Informatics recipient;

• Kelly Horton was recognized in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program;

• Theresa Wilson took home the award for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program;

• Ashley Brouwer was chosen for the specialty award in the Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Program.

Other awards included the Amy Frances Brown prize for excellence in writing, given to student Samuel Robbins. Steve Krau, Ph.D., M.S.N., associate professor of Nursing, was honored with the Julia Hereford Award by the students for his contributions outside the classroom or clinic. The student body also honored Erin Rodgers, M.S.N., R.N., lecturer in Nursing, with the Sara K. Archer Award for his outstanding contributions to teaching and scholarliness.

A total of 232 students completed the nursing program. Four were recognized for completing their post-master's work — Kristie Hammond received one as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner; Kelly Horton as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; Sandra Hubbard as an Adult Nurse Practitioner; and Susan Thomas as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Several of those students recognized during the ceremony were pinned by an immediate family member who is also a member of the nursing profession.

VUSN's nurse-midwifery students carry one additional semester of classes and are officially pinned in a December ceremony.