Nursing program releases 32 into workforce


Photo by: Austin Kemmerlin

Dr. Wittman-Price, Department of Nursing chair, says FMU has produced more than 500 registered nurses in the past seven years and the ceremony signifies competence, caring, and commitment

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

The Francis Marion University (FMU) nursing department recently awarded 32 graduating seniors who completed their Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) and achieved statuses as Registered Nurses (RN)during the pinning ceremony held on Dec. 12, 2013 at 6 p.m. in Chapman Auditorium.

The program was open to the public and over 200members of the community came to witness the pinning of their family and friends. Of the graduates, 24 were traditional BSN students, and 8 were from the RN-BSN program. Tyler King, graduating senior and nursing major, received his pin at this year’s ceremony.  King, who is one of the few males graduating from the nursing program, said that he has no regrets when it comes to being a student in the nursing program.

“It has been a unique experience being one out of only three males in nursing,” King said. “Because of it, I got to know the other guys really well, and it turns out that we [guys] have all been hired in the emergency department at McLeod.”

Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price, chair of the department, said FMU has produced over 500 RNs in last seven years. She explained the origin of the pinning ceremony hat dates back to the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing.  According to Wittmann-Price, Nightingale had been awarded the Red Cross of St. George after the Crimean War, and in turn, she awarded her brightest graduates with a medal of honor.

“The nursing pin signifies the FMU nursing values: competence, caring, and commitment,” Wittmann-Price said. “It is a celebration of the completion of one journey and the beginning of a professional journey.”

Dr. Gaye M. Douglas, assistant professor of nursing, was the speaker at this year’s pinning ceremony. She offered her congratulations to those receiving their pins and reminded them to continue to develop altruistic mannerisms.  Douglas asked that her students strengthen their autonomy, to always embrace human dignity and to never waver in their integrity. Douglas went on to tell the pin recipients that they should always question everything using the following approaches: dispute, analyze and examine.  Douglas said that even though it might be nothing, significant changes in healthcare are often caused by nurses who care enough to ask questions.

“Nurses used to administer Procardia sublingually to reduce blood pressure, but one nurse wondered why there was an increase in strokes, heart attacks and death in the patients it was given to,” Douglas said.  “It was found that the drug should never be used in that way and the practice was ended in 1995.”

After each student received his or her pin, every nurse in attendance was invited to recite the nursing pledge. During the ceremony, two special awards were presented to students.  The academic achievement award for the highest academic performance was received by Margaret Ellen Conant, and the Dr. Sylvia Lufkin Caring Award was received by Tyler Joseph King. A reception provided by the Student Nurse Association (SNA) was held in the lobby of the Lee Nursing Building (LNB) after the ceremony.