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Blackhawk Nursing hosts December pinning ceremony
The December 2022 nursing program graduates recite the Nightingale Pledge at the Nursing Pinning Ceremony on Dec. 15, 2022.

JANESVILLE — Thirty graduating Nursing students were celebrated on Thursday in a special pinning ceremony for their completion of the Associate Degree of Nursing.

“Going forward, remember the trials and tribulations of nursing school. Remember how it felt to be the new kid on the block. Remember to show empathy to your patients, co-workers and, most importantly, to yourself,” said Margaret Lowell, graduate and student speaker.

The pinning ceremony is a rite of passage for nursing graduates. The tradition began in the 1860s when Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale the Red Cross of St. George to recognize her service as nurse during the Crimean War. Nightingale, who is credited as the founder of modern nursing, wanted to share this recognition. She later presented medals to her nursing students. 

At Blackhawk, each nursing student designates a person in their life to “pin” them. That person – often a family member or friend – presents the graduate with a pin. At Thursday’s ceremony, the pin was attached to a ribbon and draped like a necklace over the graduate’s neck.

Led by nursing graduate Enrique Casiano, the graduates also recited the Nightingale Pledge, which is often cited at pinning ceremonies for nurses and is like the Hippocratic oath that is recited by new physicians.

Patty Aronson was nominated by the graduates to be the faculty speaker. 

“There will be times that are good and times that are bad. But there will be another nurse to understand it,” Aronson said. “We’ve gone from being heroes to villains and back again. Nurses need to support each other.”

Many of the graduates have already been hired by area health care providers. Jobs range from hospice care and home health to hospital and clinic positions.