Students Bridge from Nurses' Past to Nurses' Future

2008 ELMSNEarlier this month, 36 students from the Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) program at the Sacramento Regional Learning Center (SRLC) received their nursing pins and congratulations from family, friends and SMC faculty and staff from the School of Nursing.

"Pinning was a hallmark of my hard work and dedication to nursing. I was very proud of how far I had come in 16 months," said Natasha Vasilopoulos, ELMSN student.

Each pin marks the end of a student's fourth semester education in the master's program and the beginning as an advanced practice nurse.

"The next step for these students is to sit for the State Boards and continue into their graduate work, either in Case Management or Family Nurse Practitioner," shared Rene Clymer-Englehart, RN, MSN, Managing Director of SRLC and Assistant Professor. "Almost all the students will remain in the Sacramento area, where they will be securing jobs."

This year's ceremony was held at the Sutter Center for Health Professionals in Sacramento. The Pinning Ceremony is a time-honored nursing school tradition dating back to 1910. Traditionally, nursing schools have conducted an 'Honors' or 'Pinning Ceremony' to mark the passage of student nurse role to the practice role.

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs are pinned when they complete their prelicensure requirements. The current pin is the fourth design in the College's history.

Samuel Merritt College Gold Pin"Schools change the design of the pins from time to time, often due to changes in institutional relationships or degrees," explains Richard C. MacIntyre, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow. "The SMC Nursing pin is a symbol of matriculation and dedication. Students who receive it are prepared to sit for the NCLEX exam to become licensed as a registered nurse in California. They are a very special group who has learned to integrate scientific knowledge, clinical skills, and humanistic values to promote health and relieve suffering."

"In the diploma programs, students wore caps with several stripes that came off each year until they finished, and the cap was all white," said Audrey Berman, PhD, RN, AOCN, Dean of School of Nursing. "We transitioned from "capping" in the diploma program, to pinning with the BSN program starting with the class in 1981," said Dean Berman.

Despite the changes, the Pinning Ceremony is still an emotional event for students. "It is very meaningful, especially when you see other nurses wearing their pins and you wonder when is it going to be your time," said Pablo Sarmiento, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) student in the ELMS program. "My twin brother Carlos flew from Leon, Spain to pin me. He is my other half and I really wanted him to be a part of this experience."

That same day, Pablo was also presented with a job offer from the nursing manager at UC Davis Medical Intensive Care Unit.

"It was great. I accepted, but I am still going to complete the nurse practitioner tract, so I have another two years at Samuel Merritt College," Pablo continued.

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