By Melissa Shephard
Independence, MO—Alysia Grant ‘13, RN-B.S.N., says she feels a little more “official” after the Graceland University School of Nursing Recognition Ceremony on May 17, 2013, in the Community of Christ Temple.
Grant enrolled in Graceland’s accelerated program for her Bachelor of Science degree and completed her degree requirements in January 2013. After passing her NCLEX exam and earning her R.N. license, Grant returned to Iowa, her home state, and began working in a Residency Program at UnityPoint Health in Des Moines.
Although she’s been an official Registered Nurse for months, Grant says that receiving her Graceland pin and walking across the stage with her friends was what she needed to make her Graceland Experience complete.
Graceland’s School of Nursing: Academic Excellence
Graceland’s Annual School of Nursing Recognition Ceremony is an intimate ceremony honoring recent nursing graduates. Each year, students gather to celebrate, and undergraduate students take part in a pinning ceremony.
“The pinning ceremony is a tradition for the nursing profession. It is a rite of passage as our graduates make a significant transition in their lives,” said Dr. Jeana Wilcox, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor of Nursing.
This year, nearly 200 graduate and undergraduate nurses graduated from Graceland’s ranks. Dr. Claudia Horton, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing, began the ceremony by welcoming students—especially Graceland’s distance students who travelled to Independence for the ceremony.
“Graceland was a pioneer in distance education in the 1980’s and this year, I’m happy to announce that our online distance programs were ranked fifth in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report for providing quality education,” said Claudia Horton.
Dr. Parris Watts, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, also spoke of the School of Nursing’s prestige.
“The School of Nursing represents Graceland University in such a stellar way. We are so glad that these students have joined our ranks,” said Watts.
The ceremony included the presentation of special undergraduate and graduate awards for exceptional achievement in nursing. Grant picked up two awards, including the Nelle Morgan Award for Leadership and the Distinguished Leadership Award. For a complete list of award winners, click here.
Fulfilling her role as Senior Class President, Grant gave remarks from the Class of 2013; then Lisa Munsterman, RN-B.S.N., sang a playful song, I will be your Nurse Today, about the daily interactions between a nurse and a patient.
Next, Dr. Wilcox began the pinning of the B.S.N. graduates. Wilcox explained that every nursing school has its own, unique pin. Graceland’s features the Higdon Administration Building’s North Tower, symbolizing growth, and two sprays of laurel leaves, symbolizing academic honor and success in education. The pin is Graceland colors, blue and gold, which symbolize worthiness, truth and loyalty.
“The pin is a symbol of the beginning; a beginning of new opportunities, a beginning of a new professional career and beginning to use the skills and knowledge learned in this program to make a difference in the lives of family, friends, neighbors and strangers,” said Wilcox.
After undergraduate students received their Graceland pins, graduate students were presented to the audience. Many of the graduate students completed their B.S.N. and M.S.N. degrees through the online programs at Graceland. They are prepared to practice as nurse practitioners and/or nurse educators in their own communities. They received their academic hoods at the commencement ceremony on Sunday. All students received yellow roses and gifts from the B.S.N-RN junior class and School of Nursing faculty.
Celebrating the Nursing Profession
After the ceremony, students celebrated with friends and family and thanked those who helped them on their journey of becoming a nurse or advancing to a higher academic and practice level.
Grant reflected on her Graceland experience—starting with her general education courses on Graceland’s Lamoni campus, and finishing with Graceland’s rigorous School of Nursing in Independence.
“In Lamoni, I met so many great people, and I had the chance to develop my leadership skills. Coming to Independence afterwards, I learned how to be adaptable, and my instructors were so nice and welcoming,” said Grant.
“Graceland has made me a well-rounded person, and I’ve loved the whole experience.”