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Commencement and pinning ceremony held for Northeast nursing students

Commencement and pinning ceremony held for Northeast nursing students

NORFOLK, Neb. - Associate degree nursing and practical nursing students were recognized during a special ceremony at Northeast Community College in Norfolk recently with the presentation of their nursing pins and diplomas. In addition, the tradition of nursing students receiving their pins from family members or a close friend who have helped them along their journey was part of the ceremony.
Dr. Karen Weidner, director of nursing programs, congratulated the students on their determination, perseverance, and adaptability in their pursuit of the education at Northeast. She shared that nursing is the number one trusted profession, which, according to Weidner, doesn't happen by circumstance. 

"As a nurse, you will have the opportunity and honor to be part of peoples’ lives at the most intimate moments, whether it be ensuring the first breath of life to providing comfort measures during the end of life," Weidner said. "Remember, a great nurse is someone who not only has the knowledge and skill but delivers nursing care with compassion, humility, and trust.”

Weidner said nursing graduates are essential. She said the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that they have gained have prepared them to care for individuals and communities in a way that no one else can. 

“I encourage you to put into practice what you have learned, conquer the challenges along the way, remain inspired, and stay connected to your original dream."  

The nurse pinning observance is the culmination of the students’ initial journey of professional nursing education. It is a bridge from nursing’s past to nursing’s future and is a time-honored nursing school tradition. It also signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses.

The history of the pinning ceremony goes back to the Crusades of the 12th century. The modern ceremony dates back to the mid-19th century when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War. To share the honor, she in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates.

Each nursing school, at every level of education, has its own unique pin which is worn on the nursing uniform. The nursing school pin that graduates of the Northeast Community College’s associate degree nursing (ADN) and practical nursing program receive is symbolic of nursing’s heritage and tradition.

In the student address, Emily Jensen, Pierce, outreach coordinator of the Student Nurses’ Association, commended her classmates in working hard to achieve their educational goals at Northeast. She said commencement is not an end goal; it is a part of life’s larger journey. 

"Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere. Life is a journey, and all accomplishments we achieve during its course should be taken as starting points," Jensen said. "Our graduation should serve as a launching point, projecting us to wherever our futures are meant to take us. I hope all of us today can take this personal accomplishment as an example of how anything is possible when we put our minds to it. As we all continue in our lives, let us take each new problem on with confidence, knowing that we have achieved great heights and are equipped with the necessary tools to tackle the future."

In addition to earning an ADN, Jensen received an Associate of Science diploma during the ceremony. 

Dr. Leah Barrett, Northeast president, presented each of the graduates with their diplomas during the ceremony. 

In addition to the pinning ceremony, one associate degree nursing and one practical nursing students were presented the Essence of Nursing Award for their consistent academic effort, caring actions, positive motivation toward classroom learning and clinical experience, and professional behaviors. Kenzi Barnes, Cody-Kilgore, ADN graduate, and Jenny Gustafson, Lyons, practical nursing student, were honored with the award.

Three students were named Nebraska AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Scholars – Jared Bessmer, Osmond, Grace Jansen, Hartington, and Kylee Jipp, Plainview. The Nebraska AHEC Scholars Program is part of a national initiative that prepares health profession students who want to serve in rural or urban underserved areas of Nebraska to become leaders in the changing health care system.

Upon completion of the first two semesters of nursing studies at Northeast Community College, students are eligible to take the National Council of Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed practical nurses. Students who hold a 3.0 grade point average in their nursing courses are eligible to complete the last two semesters of the Northeast program and take the National Council of Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to practice as licensed registered nurses.

Students who graduate with an ADN are eligible to continue their studies for a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. The general education courses for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can be taken at Northeast Community College. The majority of the practical nursing students have chosen to continue in the associate degree nursing program at Northeast.
Thirty-seven students received their Associate Degree Nursing diploma and nursing pin. 

Albion – Hanna Seier.
Bancroft – Brodee Fleming, Jennifer Reifsteck.
Beemer – Chanda English.
Blair – Ashley Clark.
Bloomfield – Jonathan Sahagun. 
Cody-Kilgore – Kenzie Barnes. 
Columbus – Rylee Jacobsen.
Emerson – Nicole Schram.
Hartington – Grace Jansen.
Jackson – Kathryn Etherington.
Laurel – Ashley Morten.
Lindsay – Dinah Bialas.
Madison – Andrea Arreguin, Taurayizwenyu Sawerengera.
Neligh – Kenzi Buck. 
Norfolk – Joshua Bleich, Charley Eicher, Katie Ferguson, Alaina Villalpando.
Osceola – Kylie Merry. 
Osmond – Jared Bessmer.
Pender – Jenna Kubik, Kaitlyn Schumacher.
Plainview – Rebekah Beltz, Kylee Jipp.
Pierce – Emily Jensen, Sidney Zimmerer.
Randolph – Sydney Brunssen.  
Seward – Shaylee Kamphaus.
Springview – Miah Wiebelhaus.
Stromsburg – Emily Noyd.
Stanton – Makenna Espinoza.
Verdigre – Mariah Vacha. 
Wayne – Donna Aimee Oswald. 


Anambra, Nigeria – Mary Nneka Ezeh.

Thirty-eight students received their Practical Nursing pin and diploma.


Albion – Melanie Rankin. 
Atkinson – Ellie Burkinshaw. 
Bartlett – Alyx Kurpgeweit. 
Chambers – Faith Woslager. 
Clarkson – Rikki Cahill. 
Columbus – Jaina Lauridsen.
Crofton – Abbey Maibaum. 
David City – Breanna Stouffer.
Foster – Katlyn Krueger. 
Fremont – Oscar Garcia, Brittney Perina.
Genoa – Shyanne Sutton.
Hartington – Liby Lange.
Lincoln – Payton Coon.
Lyons – Jenny Gustafson. 
Neligh – Megan Funk.
Norfolk – Brittany Bartusch, Melody Fischer, Abbigal Lane, Jordan Schaecher, Makenna Strand, Abigail Thornton. 
Oakland – Bradley Gillett.
Pierce – Jeni Palo.
Plainview – Alexa Meyer, Abigail Rafert.
Tilden – Delilah Sierra. 
Wakefield – Geena Rahn.
Wayne – Avianna Jones-Doring, Daryl Lambert.
West Point – Kelly Hansen, Allyson Plagge. 
Winside – Kelly Tweedy.
Wynot – Emma Greninger.
York – Ashton Rauert.

Out of State

Ill, Chicago – Devine Smith.


Colombia, Bogotá – Laura Duque.
Germany, Ramstein – Ariella Cole.

The ceremony was broadcast live by members of the Northeast Community College Media Arts – Broadcasting, and Media Arts – Audio Recording Technology programs. 


                                                                                                      PHOTO CUTLINE 

Jennifer Reifsteck, Bancroft, poses for a photo with her children, Kason and Layna, after she received her Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) pin during a Pinning and Commencement Ceremony at Northeast Community College recently. Reifsteck was one of 37 students to receive their ADN pin and diploma during the ceremony. Thirty-eight other nursing students received their Practical Nursing pin and diploma during the ceremony.