June 14, 2012
Salish Kootenai College nursing graduates earn their pins
By Lailani Upham
SKC nursing graduates hold candles before reciting the nurses pledge during the Pinning Ceremony on Friday. The lighting of candles is a common practice for students to each light a candle that is representative of the well-known nurse, Florence Nightingale. This symbolizes the “passing of the flame” from Nightingale to each nurse. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — While Salish Kootenai College Nursing Department is recognized for its unique focus on Native American culture and health issues, the Nurse Pinning ceremony stays in line with a tradition that dates back to 1893 of English nurse Florence Nightingale with the “passing of the flame.”
The Nightingale pledge is modified for modern times at some institutions, including SKC.
According to the SKC Nursing Department one of the critical concepts of learning at the institution is cultural competence, which essentially is the commitment to weave in cultural experiences throughout the curriculum, including lab, classroom and clinical settings.
It is the quest of the college department to deliver Native American nurses with competencies required for professional practices and leadership in rural communities.
This year’s guest speaker was local community and tribal registered nurse Dorene Vallee.
Vallee was licensed as a nurse in 1957 from St. Pat’s School of Nursting. With her rich experience and background she encouraged the graduating class of 2012, “To protect your license,” she said.
“You are to be a door for your patients to the doctor. You are the eyes and ears of the patient,” Vallee added. She expressed to the students to know they are not only dealing with the patient but their family as well.
Vallee told the new nurses to never be mean to their patients. “You are now going to higher levels,” she said. She encouraged the graduates to set higher goals and have pride.
This year the SKC Nursing Department had 31 students earn their nursing degrees.
Six of the graduates who received their Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing were: Starlite Brewer, Candice Brown, Niche Caye, Melissa Ireland, Angela McClure, and Kodi Tall Bull.
The 2012 Associate Degree nursing students are: Catherine Addison, Jennifer Daniels, Karessa Dudley, Corrina Gervais, Rebekah Gilliland, Amanda Holloran, Heather Hovet, Bartley Laughlin, Melissa Main, Sarah Morigeau, Rochelle Nelson, Tabitha Normandeau, Laura Odegaard, Kristi Orr, Mandi Racine, Alyssa Ragsdale, Derrick Roberts, Jessica Steinebach, Kate Swofford, Billie Thomas-Black, Danice Thorne, Diana Trombley, Coreen Umphrey, Robert Whitaker, and Kimberly Yarck.
The graduation ceremony is a little different than a traditional graduation. Students are called forth to be pinned by a nursing faculty member. The pin represents a diploma.
Following the pinning each nurse stood sincerely with candle in hand delivering the pledge to carry on in their new life, their new career:
“I solemnly pledge in the presence of this assembly to be professional, dedicated, and sincere. I will be a responsible member of my community. I will do all in my power to elevate the standard of my profession and maintain client confidentiality. With loyalty, I will endeavor to contribute to the health care team and devote myself to the welfare of those With white uniforms and winged medical pins signifying each one was now a member of the medical community – 31 nurses left the building.