College Set for Virtual Nurse Pinning Ceremony | Thomas Nelson Community College

College Set for Virtual Nurse Pinning Ceremony

December 4, 2020
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Unlike the College's live pinning ceremonies such as this, the 2020 ceremony for Historic Triangle nursing students will be an online celebration.

An integral part of graduation in the nursing field is the pinning ceremony, which traces its roots to the 1860s and Florence Nightingale. In the ceremony, each graduate selects a family member, close friend or mentor to place a pin on their nursing uniform.

With many graduation ceremonies now being virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a challenge to keep that tradition part of the ceremony. But for Thomas Nelson’s nursing students from the Historic Triangle campus, that tradition will continue at its Dec. 12 online ceremony. When it comes time for each person to receive his or her pin, the student will say, “I’m being pinned by …” and Zoom will go live to their home or wherever they are and see them receiving their pin.

“The students have missed out on so much with COVID,” said Karen Lynch, an associate nursing professor. “It’s nursing tradition to have a pinning ceremony. … I think (this shows) the College is very supportive of the nursing students.”

The virtual ceremony, which is expected to last about an hour, will consist of pre-recorded and live portions. In the former, the students will introduce themselves, then recite the Nightingale pledge. Each of the 26 graduates recorded themselves saying the pledge, but when that portion is shown during the ceremony, it will be edited into each graduate saying a line of the pledge.

Lynch said the ceremony will be similar to the one held last December except it’s being done virtually. Incoming Thomas Nelson President Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon also has recorded congratulatory remarks.

“The one thing that’s great about this is, normally, it’s a private event. Now it’s a full public event,” said Alicia Riley, the College’s special events manager, adding relatives and friends of the graduates, no matter where they live, can watch the ceremony.

Part of the pre-recorded section is a video of the students giving a virtual tour of the Williamsburg campus and the facilities where they did their clinicals, as well as photos of students throughout their time at Thomas Nelson.

“We’re going to end with Greater Gator Gratitude. It will be different people from around campus saying thank you to our new first-responders,” Riley said, adding the College also is sending each graduate a gift bag.

To view the ceremony, which goes live at 5 p.m., go to