Twenty-seven students dressed in white lit lamps, modeled after the Florence Nightingale lantern, while reciting the nurse’s pledge during BJU’s 38th nurses pinning ceremony on campus.
Prospective BJU graduates were also presented with individual pins featuring a cross, representing the Christian emphasis of the BJU nursing program. Since 1982,1,252 nursing students have graduated from the University.
Dr. Gary Weier, BJU provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, welcomed family and friends to the ceremony and gave the benediction.
Lifetime of Service
Dr. Sam Horn, BJU executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement, challenged and encouraged the Division of Nursing graduates from Galatians 6:9 (the class of 2019 verse).
“Nurses, if you think about it, exist because we live in a broken world where real people experience deep pain and sometimes unbearable suffering,” he said. “Nurses, more than almost any other medical caregiver, are called to walk with people through this pain and suffering. Christian nurses will do all of this and more. In a very real way, you will be Jesus to people at the most vulnerable and critical and significant moments in their life. You will walk with them as they prepare to enter and as they prepare to exit this earthly life.
“You will witness their deepest joy and sorrows. You will be by their side as they face fears and confront the reality of their own mortality. And some of you will be called at times to walk with them through the valley of the shadow of death. You will be for them the rod and the staff that God might use to comfort them and to help them.
“What you are doing with your hands and with your life, you are doing in Jesus’ place and in His name. Your class verse has some wonderful encouragement about this. The verse speaks of a great task and the wording of the verse is well-doing. The idea is an ongoing investment of your life and resources in alleviating suffering and meeting the needs of others. It contains a great exhortation: Do not grow weary in this. The idea behind that is do not lose heart at the immensity of the task. Keep doing well, keep investing your life and resources. The verse ends with a sure promise: You will reap if you persevere. Your life will make a difference.”
Part of the Greater Community
Marvell Lareche, BJU’s Nursing Association president who was recently hired as a cardiovascular intensive care unit registered nurse at Prisma Health in Greenville, delivered the dedication speech to the graduating class.
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The pinning ceremony is designed to mark the inclusion of students in the greater community of professional nursing. The modern ceremony can be traced to the 1860s when 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 new students became standard throughout the United States.
The lamp is also symbolic of Nightingale, who would carry a lantern on her nightly rounds caring for the wounded and sick through the four miles of wards of the barracks hospital.
The nurses pledge was written by Cathleen Jennings Bouwsma, a student in BJU’s inaugural graduating nursing class, to represent the values of a Christian nurse.