Upon completing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, 24 Newman University graduates participated in the 2021 ceremonial Nursing Pinning May 6 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.
Nursing pinning ceremonies date back more than 130 years in the United States and are an important step in the transition from student nurse to professional nurse. Each pin is unique to the program and institution.
The Newman pin was designed in 1984 by the first graduating BSN class and bears images of a cross and a lamp. The cross symbolizes Christian heritage, while the lamp symbolizes both the light of knowledge as well as the long associated nursing symbol that references Florence Nightingale. During the Crimean War during the 1880s, Nightingale would walk with a lamp at night among the wounded soldiers, giving them comfort and care.
Newman Chaplain Adam Grelinger, President Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., and Director of Nursing Teresa Vetter welcomed the students and families in attendance. Social distancing was adhered to in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the entire event was live streamed via Facebook and YouTube for extended family and friends to watch from afar.
“These are students who have journeyed through a nursing program in some very unusual times,” Vetter said. “All of us have experienced the stress, disbelief and uncomfortableness of being in a pandemic. But these students have persevered to accomplish something that not everybody is cut out to do — and that is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.”
Vetter said nursing is considered one of the most difficult undergraduate degrees to earn, particularly when it comes to the amount of exams, the difficulty of each exam as well as the amount of knowledge required to carry out the job itself.
“Whether one patient at a time, through individualized holistic care, or as a participant in developing policy, you will lead the way to quality and safe care,” Vetter added. “You are prepared to transform society.”
2021 Distinguished BSN Graduate Award
In addition to the pinning, the ceremony also included the naming of the Distinguished BSN Graduate Award. This award is given to a graduating nursing student who has a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average and demonstrates an exceptional commitment to the nursing profession and involvement in the Newman and greater Wichita communities.
The spring 2021 honor was bestowed upon Clare Morgan.
Morgan was involved in music through chorale and troubadours and served on the Campus Ministry board, both as vice president and president. Morgan even helped organize a student winter service trip to Gallup, New Mexico as part of her role in Campus Ministry. Morgan also gave time as a sacristan, lector and cantor for masses at Newman.
During her two years in the nursing program, Morgan was active in the Nurses Christian Fellowship Club and served in leadership roles within the club. In the community, she is active in her church as a cantor and small group leader for Confirmation classes. Morgan actively volunteers with HumanKind Ministries and ICT Street Team, both organizations working with the homeless.
Morgan said she was surprised to be nominated for the award.
“There are so many hardworking (students) in my class who in my opinion are more distinguished than I am, had harder times going through nursing school, faced more challenges and have overcome bigger things than I have,” Morgan said. “I’m very grateful. I wish I could share it with all of them.”
Morgan’s mother is a nurse and her father is a doctor. Growing up, Morgan remembers their passion for their jobs and says that had a great impact on her decision to become a nurse.
“They are both very caring, intelligent people,” Morgan said. “They taught us that ‘your life isn’t about you. It’s not about the money you make or the things you have for yourself, it’s about what you do for other people and how you bring the kingdom of God to Earth now.’”
Morgan added, “I think nursing is a really easy way to do that. In my opinion, I’m kind of copping out because every single day of my life I get to go out and live it for another person.”
Morgan says that receiving the Distinguished BSN Award is a sign that her professors have faith in her abilities as a nurse.
“I just want to say thank you,” Morgan said. “Everything that I am or have dreamed about being or had any chance of being are because of the people that God has put in my life, and the situation that I’ve been lucky enough to be put into. The faculty at Newman are a huge part of that.”
Morgan has a job lined up as a nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Kansas Heart Hospital, where she has worked for the past five months as a nurse tech. In the future, Morgan plans to pursue a graduate nursing degree to become an acute geriatric nurse practitioner. Her goal is to work with staff in acute care settings to improve the lives and care of the elderly with dementia-related behavioral challenges.
Off to Transform Society
President Jagger shared a few final words of advice for the newly pinned nurses.
“If you approach your career in nursing the same way that St. Maria DeMattias approached her call to teach others and to develop in them a devotion to Christ, then you will be using your talents to change the world, one patient at a time,” she said.
The Newman University BSN candidates for spring 2021 are:
- Kirsten Adolf
- Oriana Berumen
- Samuel Bowman
- Kali Brewer
- Bailey Bugner
- Cassandra Dreiling
- Daisy Garcia
- Hunter Gunnarson
- Kailey Hamilton
- Kayla Hauber
- Alyssa Jones
- William Jordan
- Bhushan Kayastha
- Amanda Martinez
- Clare Morgan
- Robert Nguyen
- Lauren Nutting
- LaTyalah Perez
- Jordan Perry
- Sandy Pham
- Brooke Potter
- Savana Sanders
- Kaylee Weaver
- Mackenzie Wright
View the full video recording of the spring 2021 Nursing Pinning Ceremony on YouTube:
To find out more about the Newman nursing program, visit online or contact admissions at (316) 942-4242.