During BJU’s 40th nurses pinning ceremony — a celebration and commissioning — 27 students lit lamps while reciting the nurse’s pledge of service to God and community.
The pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing graduates were presented pins featuring a cross, representing the Christian emphasis of the BJU nursing program. Four nurses who completed the RN to BSN program through BJU’s School for Continuing, Online Professional Education (SCOPE) were also recognized during the program at Rodeheaver Auditorium.
On May 8, 28 Class of 2020 nursing program graduates will be recognized during a reception on campus. Their special event last May was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the first pinning ceremony in 1982, more than 1,300 nursing students have graduated from BJU. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
In giving the dedication address to classmates and guests, University Nursing Association president Jubilee Johnston thanked family, friends and especially the Division of Nursing faculty for helping them arrive at this juncture.
“For me and my classmates, this moment is huge. There were times when we doubted we would even make it, but here we are standing here today,” she said. “This is an achievement we could have never accomplished on our own. I want to especially thank our wonderful nursing faculty. Most importantly, you’ve been an example of Christ to us. You reminded us that we did not sign up for nursing school in order to serve ourselves. You demonstrated selfless Christ leadership in your daily lives. We are so grateful.”
Unique Senior Year
The Class of 2021 is the first to graduate from the use of the unified School of Health Professions facility and had unique trials and opportunities to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BJU President Steve Pettit challenged graduates to view their nursing careers as a calling from God.
“Today is a day of celebration and day of commissioning. It is our official sendoff to each member of the Class of 2021 to the ministry of nursing,” Pettit said. “At the very forefront of worldwide evangelism and the very beginning of the New Testament has always been doctors and nurses who care for the physical needs of others in order to meet the spiritual needs of others.
“You have been well-prepared. You’ll soon see the value of your training from Bob Jones University when you step out into the medical field. Not only are you a professional, but you are a servant. Being a nurse is not really a job. It’s a ministry.
“I think the phrase learn, love and lead applies to no greater group than our graduating nurses. You’ve spent all this time learning in order to serve others. As a servant you keep growing, because to serve effectively today you have to learn, but you have to learn more tomorrow because tomorrow is going to be different. We want you to go out and make a difference.”
Ceremony and Symbolism
The pinning ceremony is designed to mark the inclusion of students who have completed their educational requirements into the greater community of professional nursing. The modern ceremony can be traced to the 1860s when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George in recognition of her contribution and service to the injured soldiers during the Crimean War. She in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest students.
By 1916, the practice of pinning graduates of nursing programs became standard throughout the United States.
The lamp is also symbolic. Nightingale would carry a lantern on her nightly rounds caring for the wounded and sick through the wards of the barracks hospital.
The nurse’s pledge was written by Cathleen Jennings Bouwsma, a student in BJU’s inaugural graduating nursing class, to represent the values of a Christian nurse.
I solemnly dedicate myself to God in the presence of this assembly to perform my ministry faithfully. I pledge that by the grace of God I will uphold and even elevate the standards of my profession. I will assist the providers in their work with loyalty and discretion. I will be a servant to the sick entrusted to my care. Above all, I will serve Christ in my calling. I will accept my duties as opportunities for the Great Physician to minister through me to those who are sick in body, in mind, in soul or in spirit.