AVON PARK, Fla. – June 19, 2018 – In keeping with a time-honored tradition that spans more than a century, 35 graduates of South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program received Registered Nursing (RN) pins from parents, siblings, husbands, children, and special friends in the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts on June 18.

Pinning ceremonies recognize nursing graduates for their accomplishments, reiterate their responsibilities as health care providers, and officially welcome them into the nursing profession. Having earned associate degrees, SFSC’s ADN graduates are qualified to take the National Council for Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and apply for RN licenses from the Florida Board of Nursing.

The 2018 ADN graduates are Lucio Anaya Jr., Kayln Baker, Jordan Buck, Michael Butler, A. Jovana Calderon, F. Patrick Carey III, Sabrina Decker, Francin Espiritu, Stephanie Esquivel, Susana­­ Gonzalez, Dalton Hammon, Amy Hines, Cara Johnson, Yesenia Lozano, Dennis Mejia, Crystal Morales, Nicole Morgan, Beatriz Paniagua, Maria Paniagua, Crystal Parker, Hector Ramirez, Jennifer Ratliff, Karissa Rivers, Laura Rojas, Yvonne Rosario, Tania Salinas, Jessica Sturgill, Maria Suarez, Charley Taylor, Savannah Taylor, Jose Torres, Rodine Walker, Kyle Weed, Rachel Willis, and Jared Woodings.

Keynote speaker Tracy Lethbridge, the lab and clinical coordinator of SFSC’s nursing education program, talked about the importance of family to the success of a nursing career. As a young nursing student, Lethbridge had the unique experience of completing SFSC’s ADN program with her competitive mother, who motived her to challenge herself and succeed. Once she began working as a nurse and an educator, Lethbridge came to rely on her extended “family of choice” as she experienced the joys and heartbreaks of a profession “that wants more of us than we sometimes have to give.”

“We’re nurses,” Lethbridge said. “We’ll work through lunches, bathroom breaks, weekends, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and our own mental and physical exhaustion. Sometimes we do have more to give, and we can do this because we are not alone. We are surrounded by a family who empowers us, who shares their energy with us, who love us.”

Former Class President Patrick Carey III used his parting remarks to remind his peers of the value they bring to nursing. “We’re all entering this profession for different reasons,” he said. “As much as we want to be nurses, nursing needs us in return. Nursing needs caring souls, different perspectives, and critically thinking minds. I know each and every one of you has these qualities to offer and will use them to accept head-on the awesome responsibility of which we will now be entrusted.”

Graduates committed themselves to upholding the ethics of nursing by reciting the Nightingale Pledge, a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath, in which they vowed to “maintain and elevate the standards of my profession,” “aid the physician in his work,” and “devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.” Created in 1893, the pledge bears the name of Florence Nightingale, an English war nurse and social reformer whose advocacy for nursing education, ethics, and hygiene caused her to become “the founder of modern nursing.”

Each graduating ADN class chooses an exceptional mentor to receive the “Golden DUCK Award” for helping them “Develop Understanding, Compassion, and Knowledge.” The 2018 class presented its award to nursing instructor Todd Schoen for his guidance, kindness, and encouragement.