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Nursing Pinning Ceremony Set for May 17
posted May 9, 2007

Calvin College will hold its annual department of nursing pinning ceremony at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 in the college’s Fine Arts Center (FAC). Refreshments will follow in the Commons Dining Hall.

This year 59 graduating nursing students (57 women and two men) will receive their nursing pins in a tradition that harks back 23 years at Calvin and generations in the nursing field.

“You find the pinning ceremony goes back over a hundred years in the nursing profession,” says nursing department chair Mary Molewyk Doornbos of the practice, which has as its antecedent the ceremonial granting of badges to healers. “When nursing did not exist in undergraduate institutions, the pinning ceremony substituted for the graduation ceremony."

The pinning ceremony is typically a big event, drawing about 500 to 600 friends and family of the graduating nurses to the FAC. Calvin nursing professor Margaret Harvey will offer the pinning address, and the event will also feature a short address on the pinning ceremony tradition, as well as student reflections and a slide show of nursing department highlights from 2006-2007.

Among those highlights will be images of Calvin students practicing their healing art in places such as Belize (a site of a January interim class) and closer to home in the three Grand Rapids neighborhoods where the nursing students spend a major part of their Calvin nursing career, learning community-based healthcare.

“We have a very strong model of meeting the needs of the community simultaneously with meeting educational needs,” Molewyk Doornbos comments.

The central event of the evening will be the presentation of nursing pins to each individual student, a signal event for the participants.

Says Molewyk Doornbos: “The nursing pin is a century-old symbol of service to others. It is distinctive of the college you graduated from.”

The Calvin College Nursing PinThe Calvin nursing pin holds the added distinction, she says, of being designed by Calvin nursing students.

Up until 2003, Calvin and Hope College partnered in a nursing program. In 2004, the first group of nurses to graduate solely from Calvin honored their place in history by re-designing the college nursing pin.

They created a pin in the Calvin maroon and gold colors that combines a cross within a triangle, symbolizing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Florence Nightingale Lamp, symbolizing the nursing profession; and the heart-in-hand motif, symbolizing Calvin College.

The motto that goes with the heart and hand, “My heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerely,” encircles the whole.

“It’s a beautiful pin,” Molewyk Doornbos says.

Following the presentation of the pins, the students will light the Florence Nightingale candle, a tribute to the woman credited with founding the nursing profession.

Molewyk Doornbos says the department is looking forward to their annual celebration with all of its attendant rituals.

“It’s symbolic of completion,” she says, “and the students love it.”

~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson

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