AVON PARK — On Monday, Dec. 6, 22 graduates of South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program were honored in a traditional pinning ceremony in the Alan J. Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at SFSC’s Highlands Campus in Avon Park.
The graduates are Crystal Abesamis, Debbie Arias, Karl Asumen, Sonia Becerra, Tessa Brewer, Cole Bronson, John Morgan Clyatt, Raylee Coleman (Okeechobee), Jessie Cox, Caitlin Cwalinski, Sarah Elders, Diana Eugenio Hernandez, Kayti Ezard (Okeechobee), Jodie Ferreira, Adriana Galindo, Samantha Hazard, Kimberlee Layton, Jenny Lopez, Eduardo Magana, Morgan Mimbs, Gloria Onyishi, and Adrianna Springsteen.
Each year, ADN graduates award the Golden Duck to someone who has served as a mentor to the students in the program. The D.U.C.K. acronym represents the foundational elements of the mentoring arrangement: Developing, Understanding, Compassion, and Knowledge. During the ceremony, ADN graduate Crystal Abesamis presented the 2021 Golden Duck Award to Dr. Veronica Walker, an SFSC Nursing Education adjunct instructor and nurse practitioner in Lake Placid.
Mary von Merveldt, director of nursing education, indicated that it was St. Nicholas Day and compared St. Nicholas’ life with those of the graduates. “He was said to be humble, compassionate, and generous. He shares this with you — the way you care for your patients and each other is inspiring. You also have another commonality with St. Nicholas – you, too, help with a global health crisis. Nicholas was believed to have lost both his parents to an epidemic at a young age. Academically, you’ve faced difficult days as a result of the pandemic and the challenges that come along with nursing school. Some of you have faced tough personal circumstances, but have persevered no matter what life has thrown at you. My wish for you is that you continue to give in spite of your circumstances. That you bless others through your generosity, compassion, and that you are blessed in return.”
During the ceremony, the graduates’ loved ones presented them with their individual nursing pins. The graduates, then, passed the flame of a lamp, one to another, before reciting the Nightingale Pledge.
Von Merveldt explained the origins of the Nursing pinning and the importance of the lamp lighting ceremony to the graduates: “The pinning we know today originated in the 1850s at the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Having been awarded the Red Cross of St. George for her selfless service to the injured and dying during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale chose to extend this offer to her most outstanding graduating nurses by presenting each of them with a medal of excellence. The presentation of the lamp is a symbol of the caring devotion nurses administer to the sick and injured in the practice of nursing. After nurses were pinned, Nightingale would light a lamp and pass the flame to each nurse as they recited the pledge. The passing of the flame represents a formal welcoming of new nurses to the profession. Florence Nightingale personifies competence, compassion, courage, selflessness, determination, and initiative. These nurses’ values are yours to pass along to those you work with, teach, or mentor. But most importantly, they are a blessing to those under your care. The memories of this special ceremony will remain with you throughout your career as you carry on the sacred legacy of caring and excellence that is nursing. I am honored to be the first to welcome you into the discipline of professional nursing.”
Graduates of the ADN program become registered nurses by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses. SFSC nursing graduates are usually fully employed in nursing within a few months of graduation.
SFSC’s ADN program is the only nationally accredited nursing program in its service district of Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto counties. It is accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
SFSC offers ADN program options for students interested in becoming registered nurses: a two-year Generic-RN program, a two-year Evening/Weekend RN program, and a one-year Transition-LPN to RN program. The college also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and an 11-month Practical Nursing (PN) program. For program entry requirements, consult the SFSC College Catalog online at southflorida.edu or contact Danielle Ochoa, Health Sciences Division advisor at 863-784-7027 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Danielle.Ochoa@southflorida.edu.