help me buck the system, please! super-traditional pinning ceremony that nobody wants - page 13

Hi all- I'm posting this in the general discussion rather than the student discussion, as I want to hear from people who were successful in doing something like this. I'm the president of my... Read More

  1. by   rach_nc_03
    Quote from CrunchRN
    Rachel,

    As I said before (a gazillion post ago) - you all earned and pay for this ceremony. It should be what you graduates want it to be. Good luck with your cause, and I really think you are supported by the majority. Keep on working for what you want.
    I appreciate your support, and those great suggestions I'm already fielding with my classmates. I typically don't get angry, but i'm fighting a case of pneumonia this week, and I woke up to pages and pages peppered with personal attacks- it finally got to me.

    Since there's obviously a lot of interest in this topic- which I didn't anticipate, frankly- I'll keep the board posted on the outcome.

    Thanks again to all those who offered suggestions, many of which I hadn't considered. I'll certainly be using your ideas!
  2. by   Mystery5
    Dear Rachel,
    Hope you feel better soon.

    Sincerely, Jan

    P.S. Your program director sounds like a real pr**ck. Comments like that are really unacceptable in this day and age and could be construed as sexist and discriminatory. More ammunition for that nice attorney from NY city!
    Last edit by Mystery5 on Jan 21, '05
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from rach_nc_03
    I haven't gotten offended by the people who say I'm being silly, or petty, or should shut up and be happy, even though I strongly disagree with them. I am, however, getting really p***ed that people are making assumptions about what I've investigated, and what I know/don't know about available space for the pinning. Ask, don't make assumptions.

    THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM IS AVAILABLE AND FREE. Do you think I would've brought this issue up without knowing that?

    By the way, my initial plan was to ignore the fact that it's in a church, though I disagree with it on principle, and worry about changing the dress code- I thought I was the only person who had the opinion about the church. However, several people came to me in clinicals and specifically said they had a problem with it, and would be boycotting the ceremony because of it.

    And before you start blasting me about my problems with the building, read my countless other posts- clarifications- stating that my problem is with the religious overtones of the ceremony, not simply the location. My college singing group rehearsed in a church. We were allowed to use the space either by paying rent, or by having a few members volunteer to sing in the choir. We took a vote every year, and if anyone wanted to do the choir, they could. If no one did, we paid. I didn't think i'd die from being in a church (did you read my other posts that said I've worked for several churches?). In fact, I don't remember saying *anything* specific about my religious beliefs. I'm talking specifically about my political beliefs here.

    A lot of people have disagreed with me here, and that's to be expected when you don't follow the majority opinion. Many of those have had intelligent discourse with me on their reasons, and in the end, even some of the people who disagreed most strongly had useful suggestions.

    If you feel like making a personal attack on me because i believe this is a violation of church/state separation (the prayer and religious content of the ceremony of a state school), please, PM me and stop wasting the thread space. At least we can avoid this back-and-forth stuff, and I won't have to wade through 20 messages of 'you're being stupid', 'no, she's not' before I find a suggestion from someone on how to deal with a problem- the UNIFORMS, remember?- that the class is in total agreement on.

    Sorry for the rant, I'm just sick of the personal attacks with absolutely no useful suggestions. And if you *do* want to attack me and want to do it publicly in this thread, rather than via PM, do me a favor and read everything I've written in the thread, ok?
    AMEN! you rock! Keep on keepin on, Rachel! You are doing the right thing. The venue IS inappropriate, esp in light of available and FREE places, like your auditorium. Sounds like the director is a jerk; someone who needs to GO, with outdated, antiquated and sexist ideals firmly intact.

    Remember this: You are fighting a good fight, not just for YOUR class, but the ones that come after you. Don't give up. And some of us DO understand your concerns, trust me. You are definately made of the right stuff to be an EXCELLENT patient advocate and nurse!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jan 21, '05
  4. by   kmchugh
    I cannot for one minute begin to comprehend how this got turned into a "conservative versus liberal" issue! It is nothing of the kind. Why is it that when some people wish to avoid religious overtones, so many so many people consider that an attack on their religion? What you all are in essence saying is that "if you don't quietly acquiesce to being subjected to my religious beliefs, then you are attacking my religion." Hogwash. What is happening is that a group of students are saying "I don't want to celebrate my accomplishment by having to honor your religion." I think that's pretty reasonable, don't you? Are you so insecure in your beliefs that you see having a different belief than yours is a personal affront and attack? And if so, how are you different from Fred Phelps? Or any of a thousand Muslim extremists? The fact is you are no different.

    Rachel: You are doing a great job as class president. You are representing the students in you class well, and your strength of conviction will serve you well as a nurse. I am a conservative, and I still say, contact the ACLU. You are attending a public university. Not a private or religious institution. They have no right whatever to force their beliefs on you or your classmates. They cannot hold your pinning ceremony in a church, and the ceremony cannot have religious overtones. Period.

    You and your classmates have a right to enjoy the fruits of your accomplishments. The pinning ceremony isn't for your instructors, it isn't for the head of the nursing school, it isn't for anyone but the graduating students. It is a celebration of your accomplishment. The same is true for graduation.

    Again, I strongly suggest you contact the ACLU first, then have a meeting with the chairman, along with an ACLU attorney if possible, and let him know it's your celebration, not his. Hang tough.

    Kevin McHugh
  5. by   begalli
    rachel,

    You already know that you have my support, 100%. I just wanted to add that judging by your posts and replies to adversarial posts in this thread, you articulate your points well, you are fair, and you keep your cool.

    You will make an outstanding patient and nurse advocate.

    Keep true to yourself! Many come out of nursing school gung-ho just to be beaten down after a couple of years of the "real world" of nursing. I get the feeling that you will not let this happen to yourself.

    Your integrity is admirable.

    The Best of Luck to you, rachel.

    ~begalli
  6. by   Mystery5
    Quote from begalli
    rachel,

    I just wanted to add that judging by your posts and replies to adversarial posts in this thread, you articulate your points well, you are fair, and you keep your cool.

    You will make an outstanding patient and nurse advocate.

    I totally agree about this. Rachel, you sound pretty level headed, even though I liked having a cap for my pinning ceremony. Maybe you guys could have a little 'cap burning ceremony' outside the church after your pinning??? You know, sort of like burning bras or draft cards? :chuckle
  7. by   travis818
    I just think you have an obligation to oppose the ceremony if you and so many of your classmates dissaprove or feel uncomfortable with the setting or attire required. You may not be able to change it for yourselves, hopefully you can. If not, maybe you will help the next class change things, of which many will probably feel the same as you.

    Tradition is great, but really, if people feel humiliated because of them then I don't see the point. I don't think many people here would allow their employer to treat them like that, even though they are the ones paying you. The students are the only reason that school exists... you're paying for it... and they need to show you respect just like I am sure most or all of your class has shown them all the way through your program.

    If it comes to it, I think the ACLU is a great option to look into. Good luck with everything... maybe just mentioning some of the legal issues with it will cause them to think twice.

    -Travis
  8. by   Dr. Grace Brown
    I believe you should submit to the traditional conservative request for your graduation uniform BECAUSE this is not about you. I believe you have entered the profession with high expectation for respect, salary, the baility to choose where and when you want to work and you want to be valued for not only what you know, a robot can do technical things, you want to be valued because you are the only profession in the hospital that treats with the whole patient and the whole team of health professionals. If you look like a hip and regular gal/guy and expect that you will be noted as special by the patient and health team your are mistaken. Th "uniform" that the hospital or visiting nurse association or armed forces, or institution wants you to wear is an important status symbol that represents all nurses. We are fighting for higher salaries, more control of your time, more time with patients, more opportunities to grow. If it is more important to you to look cute,then you choose for all of us, the dumbing down that the buyers of our skills and attitudes want. Graduation is one day; if you can't understand the message your director is trying to give you, then you have lost the humility and extreme care your director is trying to get you to see. Wonder what great things could happen if you acquiese? You will never know because you are busying yourself on confrontation, fitting in no matter what, looking hip and not on what the trust the profession holds deserves.

    I'm posting this in the general discussion rather than the student discussion, as I want to hear from people who were successful in doing something like this.

    I'm the president of my ADN class, graduating this May. We have 17 students, 14 of them women. Our faculty is, almost entirely, *extremely* conservative, and the school is in a very small town. Our pinning ceremony is held in a church, and has pretty significant christian religious overtones, which I have a problem with; I think it's an inappropriate blurring of the line between church and state (this is a state-funded community college), and I've had a few students express discomfort with having the ceremony in this church. By the way- it's only held there for faculty preference; there's plenty of room on campus.

    My main concern, though, is the attire for the ceremony. We're being forced to wear white dresses and caps. Now, we have to wear the caps in most clinical rotations, which is enough of an indignity (people think we're kidding, that other staff members are playing practical jokes on them by sending students in the room with caps on...it's nauseating, but I've tried to change this with no success). But I think it's ludicrous to insist we wear them at the pinning ceremony. It's *our* event, not the faculty's. In my opinion, the requirement that women wear dresses is inappropriately sexist, and from a logistical standpoint, *nobody* should be spending money on a white dress that will gather dust forever, when we have the expense of the NCLEX looming in our immediate future.

    We have one student who wants to wear a white dress, and the others are adamantly opposed to it. I'm looking for ways to approach the program director with alternatives...I think that I need to have some suggestions, or he's just going to shut it down completely. Personally, this issue is important enough to me that I won't attend the ceremony if we have to wear the dresses. I know of at least 2 other women who plan to do the same thing.

    My current plan is to have a meeting with the director and my vice-president to discuss the feelings our class has about the issue, and suggest a couple of alternatives- wearing nice, 'dressy' outfits, or wearing our clinical uniform (white smock and lab coat with navy pants). I'd like to hear from anyone else who had to address this issue, and how you resolved it. I'm also open to any suggestions *anyone* has...this director is extremely old-fashioned (he said he'd have us all wearing black stockings and orthopedic shoes, if he had his way), but he also respects me *specifically* because I'm confident and outspoken. By the way, if this were not the prevailing feeling of the other class members, I'd just skip the ceremony...I'm treating it like a class issue because I feel that's my role as the class president.

    Also, please don't try to convince me we should be wearing the dresses. I don't really give a hoot about someone else's traditions that encourage disrespect and sexism, so the 'traditional' nurse's uniform is something I refuse to ever put on my body. I find the caps degrading enough...I am a medical professional in training, and there's nothing more irritating than having a doctor or nurse or patient say, 'how *cute*!!' when I walk into a room. If you disagree with me, I certainly respect your opinion, but I am absolutely certain of my position on this subject.[/QUOTE]
  9. by   begalli
    Looking cute, hip?

    Who is a pinning ceremony about if not it's about the students?

    During my nursing program we were prohibited from wearing our student nursing uniforms ANYWHERE outside of the clinical setting except walking to and from our cars, and even then we had to remove our blue vest or "smock" when doing so. There was no way our instructors would have had us wear our clinical uniforms to a pinning ceremony. It has nothing to do with instilling humility or extreme care of the profession....not only was our uniform to be highly reagrded and respected and representative of the school, those things were considered "dirty."

    How many nurse managers wear a nursing "uniform?" My NM does, but the assistant nurse manager's do not. They wear casual business attire. Our CNS wears scrubs, but some other RN's involved with nurse education in our hospital do not. Why is it assumed that all graduating nurses will be wearing bedside nursing clothes in their practice?

    Our pinning was completely separate from our commencement ceremony. I wore shorts and sandals under my graduation robe. Here is a picture of my class right before we got pinned, the evening before graduation....
    <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...g/pinning2.bmp">

    How is this not a good representation of nursing?

    Nurses are individual people and reflect the diverse make-up of the communities in which they serve. We are NOT all the same.
    Last edit by begalli on Jan 23, '05
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from Dr. Grace Brown
    I believe you should submit to the traditional conservative request for your graduation uniform BECAUSE this is not about you. I believe you have entered the profession with high expectation for respect, salary, the baility to choose where and when you want to work and you want to be valued for not only what you know, a robot can do technical things, you want to be valued because you are the only profession in the hospital that treats with the whole patient and the whole team of health professionals. If you look like a hip and regular gal/guy and expect that you will be noted as special by the patient and health team your are mistaken. Th "uniform" that the hospital or visiting nurse association or armed forces, or institution wants you to wear is an important status symbol that represents all nurses. We are fighting for higher salaries, more control of your time, more time with patients, more opportunities to grow. If it is more important to you to look cute,then you choose for all of us, the dumbing down that the buyers of our skills and attitudes want. Graduation is one day; if you can't understand the message your director is trying to give you, then you have lost the humility and extreme care your director is trying to get you to see. Wonder what great things could happen if you acquiese? You will never know because you are busying yourself on confrontation, fitting in no matter what, looking hip and not on what the trust the profession holds deserves.

    I
    [/QUOTE]

    "submission", "humility" "aquiescense"? wow....

    Now, why do I feel baited? I am sorry, but I feel the one "missing the message" here is YOU. It's not about the uniforms, about humility or lack of respect. Please re-read the OP. If the graduation is NOT about the graduates, whom does it concern? She's not fighting to be "hip", but for the ceremony the majority of her class WANTS!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jan 23, '05
  11. by   mishayla96
    "submission", "humility" "aquiescense"? wow....

    Now, why do I feel baited? I am sorry, but I feel the one "missing the message" here is YOU. It's not about the uniforms, about humility or lack of respect. Please re-read the OP. If the graduation is NOT about the graduates, whom does it concern? She's not fighting to be "hip", but for the ceremony the majority of her class WANTS![/QUOTE]

    I totally agree, it should be about the people graduating, and all of their hard work and sacrifice, not about "tradition". As mentioned in another post, all nurses are different, and should be able to express that individuality during an event that is done for THEM.
  12. by   hypnotic_nurse
    Quote from Dr. Grace Brown
    If you look like a hip and regular gal/guy and expect that you will be noted as special by the patient and health team your are mistaken. Th "uniform" that the hospital or visiting nurse association or armed forces, or institution wants you to wear is an important status symbol that represents all nurses.
    We are not in the armed forces. Last I saw, most professions which are not a part of our military don't all dress alike, including the other members of our health care teams. MDs don't all wear the same thing. Nor do respiratory therapists, radiation techs, teachers, dental hygienists, social workers, psychologists and on and on.

    Policemen are a special case -- they must be very visible and must inspire respect and even a little fear to get the job done and keep themselves safe (and if you don't think they inspire fear, then you don't get sweaty palms like I did when I got pulled over because ymy tag expired).

    I have earned respect by my attitude and by being very, very good at what I do. That comes across whether I am wearing street clothes, silly scrubs, regular scrubs, or jeans -- all of which I wear at different times depending on what my functions are that day. I wear what is most appropriate to what I am going to be doing. I do not wear what I wear to be "hip" or "special". I wear what I need to wear to get the job done.

    When I graduated in 2000, we had our pictures taken in the one cap our nursing school had. I can't imagine trying to wear something like that every work day. It is too much trouble. Working uniforms (as opposed to dress uniforms) have to be practical. Caps aren't practical for many of us, nor are dresses. Bobby pins won't even stay in my hair, much less some goofy little piece of fabric perched on top of my head. And if I have to get underneath the exam table to plug in my EKG (poor clinic design), the last thing I want to be wearing is a white dress or white anything.

    I would feel silly in a white dress and cap. I don't think those who choose to wear them are silly, or look silly. I am stating how *I* feel. I don't think it is a "status symbol".

    And this: my mom (who got her RN in the 1940s) and her colleagues were very happy to lay their caps and white dresses aside when society changed and those uniforms were no longer required.
  13. by   mitchsmom
    No way, I wouldn't do it on both fronts.

    The cc in my town still wears caps and I wouldn't even chose to attend a program that still uses them just on the idea that if they do that they probably aren't a progressive school that I would like (and in this case it is VERY true). That's a personal opinion, but I just can't stand the attitude thing at colleges... I am a paying adult, if I'm behaving in a respectable manner and am giving a good name to the program, then leave me the hel! alone and don't parent me.

    I also don't think that dresses should be required - I refused to do that 15 years ago when a high school course of mine tried it, outdated and ridiculous even then.

    The OP didn't just say that the ceremony was in a church as a matter of locale, she also said it included "significant christian religious overtones," which is innappropriate for a state school.

    It's ironic that the faculty sounds very unchanging and intolerant of differences... two of the very things that are stressed for us to BE in my program. Do they use the same clinical practices that they did back when nurses wore caps? Or is it a power trip thing? Either way I'd be bothered, I don't think any of it is good role modeling.

    A balance of tradition and student preferences can obviously be reasonably attained so that everyone is happy but it sounds like the faculty isn't willing, I think that is just stubborn without reason.

    There have been alot of good suggestions here.... I didn't read the last part of the thread, to the OP - how have things turned out so far?
    Last edit by mitchsmom on Jan 23, '05

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