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I need pinning ceremony ideas!!

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by marialaughs marialaughs (New) New

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I am a senior nursing student and the president of my class. One of the biggest jobs that I have is planning the pinning ceremony for my class.

Since I've never been to one I would like to see/hear examples of what happens during a pinning ceremony. I've been ordering pins, lamps, caps/gowns, and photo shoots but I still don't know how it's all going to come together during the ceremony.

So how about? Can anyone post their ideas and experiences so that I can plan an amazing pinning ceremony?

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435 Posts; 7,949 Profile Views

No ideas for you, just a senior graduating this December so I'll be watching this thread.

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applesxoranges is a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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Ours was a combined effort between two campuses and we rotate between the two campuses. We had 90-110 students to be pinned at ours and it included the LPNs.

I would first start with a budget. Exactly how much are you looking at to spend? Where will the money come from? Hopefully you set a budget before you started to purchase everything. I would also set a date now so people can request off work as some students require that much notice to request off at a hospital. We knew the date of our pinning the first month of the semester and were asked to send a headcount by November 1st. Our pinning was December something, I think the 7th. They also provided us with fancy invitations to send out.

The photo shoot was done at our school separately since pinning was optional.

The dress code for us was business casual with no rules regarding color. We did not wear caps/gowns as that was for our separate graduation ceremony. We did not use nursing caps. We decorated our caps though. We each received a generic RN pin at the ceremony in case we forgot our pin. The school pin had to be purchased at 35-150 depending on the gold content. We didn't have to buy it if we didn't want to and could use any pin we wanted to.

The ceremony started with us with us entering in and sitting down. Then a bunch of the school officials gave speeches and we had a guest speaker. Then four students who read their essays about what the pin meant to them read (those who wrote essays received free school pins). Then we were pinned. Then we recited what I think was Nightingale's pledge and the school's pledge that a student had written in the 80s. Then we met with the family members for cake and punch.

Also, our pinners had to be nurses, either LPN or RN, but I think they used to just use someone who inspired you as coworkers had used family members in the past.

We also had flowers for sale which went towards purchasing pins. We did not do anything with lamps.

Also, pinning was free except we had to bring our own pin (although they did provide us one).

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3 Posts; 719 Profile Views

Thank you for your response!

First of all, we had to fundraise for our pinning ceremony because it is optional and the school does not plan it or arrange it for us. So we've been raising money since our first day in school. We have a budget and we've been sticking to it. We have a date for our ceremony and a location.

We don't get anything from the school, and we have decided to send out e-vites to save money. The photo shoot will be done at our school and we have that already set up. It's not very expensive and we have a great photographer.

We are having trouble deciding what to wear for our ceremony. We have all agreed to not wear cap/gowns even though the classes before us have done that to save themselves the headache of coordinating a dress code. Since we are planning/doing everything and the school has nothing to do with it they have no issue with us wearing whatever we want. The girls are aiming for some sort of old-school nursing dress and a hat like they would wear with Nightingale. I don't have any issues with that but I don't know where we would get the dresses or hats.

We decided to allow two people to pin us since the majority of my class has a husband and a child and they want to have both of them pin them. In that case do we need two pins? We have already paid for and submitted payment for the official school pin which is the only requirement the school has for the pinning ceremony. But do we need to buy another pin (in my class's case a very, very cheap one) to have the second person pin us?

Our school has no such requirement to have a nurse pin us because my school is located in an area where the majority of students are first time college graduates.

I will be doing a speech and then we will be having a keynote speaker followed by two or three other students giving speeches on the history of the pinning ceremony and the nursing pledge. No one in our audience will know the point of the pinning ceremony so we figured it would be a good idea to explain it all before we got into it.

Our prior classes have done something with lamps but I have no idea what it is. I was told that they light their lamps during the nursing pledge. Does anyone have any other insight on this? I also heard that back in the day when nurses were first being graduated, the purpose of the "pinning ceremony" was just to congratulate that person for literally surviving long enough to graduate. They survived tuberculosis and other contagious diseases. I think this is appropriate because I'm attending a two-year school and "surviving" has been redefined for all of us. This program is so grueling that even the students in my class that have received masters degrees in other areas have admitted that obtaining their masters degrees was easy compared to our nursing program.

So I guess what I really need now is what should my class wear, what is done with the lamps, how do we get pinned and do we need an extra pin for that second person?

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FutureCRNA? is a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiac Care.

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I would assume business casual, or interview attire would be appropriate...?

As far as having more pins, personally I don't see a need for that. I'm having my husband and two sons pin me and that will basically consist of my husband pinning me & the two boys standing up with us.

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40 Posts; 1,489 Profile Views

The nursing pledge recited while all of the graduates were holding a lit lamp with the lights dimmed was a nice touch to the last one i was at.

Another thing that went over well was someone collected photos from the students all the way back to nursing 1. From the lab, to study groups, to clinical pics (without patients of course).

The slide show was set to music and created lots of laughter and a few tears from graduates and families alike.

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

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At the school I teach- we ask ALL nurses to stand and recite the Pledge with the graduates. So many have a mother/ sister /relative who is a nurse in the audience, we use it as a 'welcome to the profession' moment- projecting the Pledge on the screen for all to read.

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92 Posts; 2,710 Profile Views

Our pinning is fairly formal. All students wear white scrubs. We have a slide show of pictures streaming for our families before we take the stage. We have a class speaker and a guest speaker. We are pinned by two of our faculty, light our lamps and recite our pledge. All Nurses attending are invited to recite the pledge with us. Pinning is fairly big at our school and our ceremony is about two hours.

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classicdame is a MSN, EdD and specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

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we ended up doing ours in a church, since the school facility was ugly and the church had sound, seating and a reception hall. We started with a blues band (Memphis), students sat in choir loft facing family and friends; Instructors gave out some awards, then we were called one-by-one to be pinned by either an instructor or a friend/family member. Sorta like graduation. Afterwards, we had a small reception. We wore our uniforms to the ceremony, but since I lived nearby, a bunch of us went to my backyard and burned our uniforms, changed to jeans and goofed off a while.

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2 Followers; 14,620 Posts; 103,915 Profile Views

I also heard that back in the day when nurses were first being graduated, the purpose of the "pinning ceremony" was just to congratulate that person for literally surviving long enough to graduate. They survived tuberculosis and other contagious diseases. I think this is appropriate because I'm attending a two-year school and "surviving" has been redefined for all of us. This program is so grueling that even the students in my class that have received masters degrees in other areas have admitted that obtaining their masters degrees was easy compared to our nursing program.

So I guess what I really need now is what should my class wear, what is done with the lamps, how do we get pinned and do we need an extra pin for that second person?

What exactly are you planning on telling the group in your speech about the history of pinning ceremonies?? The origin of the pinning ceremony is that, back when hospital-based diploma schools were the only nursing schools, the pinning ceremony was the school's official graduation ceremony. In addition to receiving your diploma, the school's director "pinning" you with the school's pin represented the school's final "stamp of approval," that they were willing to send you out into the world and have people know that you had been trained at that school. For nursing programs in colleges, that have regular commencement ceremonies that include the entire college/university, the "pinning ceremony" is irrelevant and redundant. The reason your school isn't paying for it, as lots of colleges don't these days, is because your graduation ceremony is the school's commencement ceremony, and the school administration (correctly, IMO) can't see the sense or fairness in paying school money for the nursing students to have an additional, separate ceremony when the other departments don't get to have special, separate ceremonies for their students. Plus, college administrators really resent that nursing students at colleges all over the US tend to skip the college commencement ceremony (but attend the "pinning ceremony").

Students planning and throwing their own pinning ceremony, and having family members pin you, makes as much sense as you throwing your own commencement ceremony and handing each other diplomas. It's meaningless. Have a great party; spend as much money on it as you want; invite your family to celebrate with you; you've certainly earned it -- just don't call it a "pinning ceremony," because it's not.

Everything in life is a "trade-off" -- the larger nursing community worked long and hard to get nursing education out of hospitals and into colleges and universities, and have been largely successful in doing that (there are still a few remaining diploma programs). Well, this is one of the trade-offs. Pinning ceremonies no longer make sense or have any purpose. Nursing students (most of them) go to colleges and universities, and they graduate in college-wide commencement ceremonies, the same as all the other students.

Edited by elkpark

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applesxoranges is a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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I forgot to mention that our pinning also had a uniform drive included with it. Students donate their old uniforms and the SNA gets them professionally cleaned and sells them again to purchase the pins for the students who write essays. The uniform shirts cost 40-50 bucks new and the SNA sells them 5 bucks a piece.

I don't know about the old school uniforms but you can order caps at http://www.kayscaps.com/index.html. However, usually each school traditionally uses their own style so you may want to research what style your school used. Old photos could be very helpful. Ours was a very common style so it was no issue.

As for the uniforms, the only thing that I can think of is a costume shop. Maybe a uniform store could recommend a uniform similar to old style nursing uniforms? Do you have any males that need to be accounted for? For cost-wise, it would probably be cheaper to do "something you would wear to work and no jeans." I'm sure people are low on funds towards the end of nursing school.

Will the 2nd person be upset that they are not pinning you? Will they be happy standing next to the pinning person? We also had an announcer reading each person's name and who pinned them. Will having two people "pinning" add an excessive length of time to the ceremony (the pinning/walking across the stage part took the longest for us however we had a lot of students, 10 LPN and 90-100 RN students). Also, we lined up in I think 10 or 15. Each row was brought up as the other row neared completion and they asked that the pinners line up when they saw their student stand up. It worked out great for us.

I know our school didn't always require that it had to be an RN to pin. It would have been easier to not have an RN pin us.

I think the pledge is traditionally read by the group in whole. Our brochure also gave info to everyone about the ceremony.

During an OB clinical, I started googling around trying to figure out what the lamp stood for. We found some sites that mentioned it had to with Nightingale passing the light/torch to her students. The OB manager was surprised to learn that since her pin also had the lamp on it. I don't know how true the story is though.

I don't know about the part about "surviving" nursing training and I've always heard of it as a welcoming into the nursing profession. One of the rites like capping used to be (where the nurses received their caps). The school pins and the caps used to show where you were trained as each school usually had their own take on the cap and nurses used to wear the school pins all the time after graduation. If you look up the history of nursing caps, it is kind of amusing to see how far some schools went to make sure their graduates stood out.

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