Nineteen graduates received their ceremonial nursing pins Thursday, May 11, marking the transition from student to professional nurse.
Nursing pinning ceremonies date back more than 130 years in the United States and celebrate students who complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Each pin is unique to the program and institution.
In 1984, the Newman pin was designed by the first graduating BSN class and depicts images of a cross and lamp. The cross symbolizes Christian heritage, while the lamp represents both the light of knowledge and long associated nursing symbol that references Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
Vetter said nursing is considered one of the most difficult undergraduate degrees to earn, particularly when it comes to the number 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,” said Director of Nursing Teresa Vetter. “You are prepared to transform society.”
Vetter explained that Newman nursing students develop not only the skillset to problem solve creatively but also the empathy needed to care for each patient.
“I encourage you to follow the Newman University mission to transform society through advocating for others, through being engaged through our professional community, being a lifelong learner, being a leader and always striving for quality, safe practice,” Vetter said.
2023 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 2023 honor was bestowed upon Michelle Tong.
At Newman, Tong served as president of the Multicultural Leadership Organization (MCLO), was a member of the Newman Chorale, the Asian Student Association, Nursing Club, Gardening Club and Newman President Kathleen Jagger’s Student Cabinet. She also worked on campus as a resident assistant and student coordinator in the Admissions Office. This past year, she served as Miss Vietnam Wichita.
One of her nominators wrote, “Michelle’s passion for advocacy is evident in her future as she would like to enter the nursing profession as a labor and delivery nurse.”
Tong didn’t expect to hear her name called as the 2023 Distinguished BSN graduate during the Academic Awards convocation April 12, but is “incredibly grateful” and humbled to receive the award.
“The nursing program here is not easy, as my entire class can attest, and so I think we are all glad to have Newman on our nursing degree and be able to go into the workforce being a Newman nursing grad,” she said.
There are many faculty to thank when it comes to Tong’s academic journey at Newman, she said, but assistant professor Rachel Cheek and associate professor Melissa Romaneschi both left their mark as mentors.
“They are both incredible instructors and gave my classmates and me great experiences inside and outside of the classroom in clinical settings,” Tong said. “They even acted as the support we did not even know that we needed.”
Tong, a lifelong learner, has always had an interest in health care because it is always evolving.
“My decision to specifically go into the nursing field is because I love interacting with people and nurses have a lot of patient interaction, if not the most interaction with patients in the healthcare setting,” Tong said.
Upon passing her NCLEX exam later this year, Tong is excited to work as a labor and delivery nurse at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph “alongside a few other graduates as well.”
Ready to transform society, one patient at a time
Father Adam Grelinger, Newman chaplain, thanked the graduates for accepting the calling of nursing for members of the community.
“Bless these nurses gathered before you,” Grelinger said. “Thank you for their dedicated teachers and supporters. Thank you for giving them the talent and courage to enter this field of service for the sick.”
He continued, “Lord, strengthen them with your grace to face any challenge with trust in you and their training. Guide their judgment, fill their hearts with love for their patients and grant them your peace.”
Congratulations to the graduating nursing class! The Newman University BSN candidates for spring 2023 are:
- Emily Bautista
- Callie Carter
- Hannah Chadd
- Makenzie Cox
- Cameron Crane
- Sydney Denton
- Abigail Grief
- Emily Hendricks*
- Kaitlyn Huynh
- Edwin Isinta
- Amanda Le
- Nohemy Moya*
- Devini Seachris
- Alexis Smith
- Rosita Smith
- Maria Stephens
- Michelle Tong*
- Alyne Vargas
- Cydney Weidner
*Sigma National Honor Society
Earn a nursing degree
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from NU permits you to take the registered nurse national licensure examination and join the ranks of professional nurses who are truly making a difference.