Twenty-six Bluefield College nursing students were awarded bachelor’s degrees as part of Winter Commencement ceremonies on Dec. 12.
The 26 RN-to-BSN students were the largest graduating class for BC’s School of Nursing since the college launched its nursing program in 2011. The 26 historic students included Katie Long of Sinks Grove.
Eleven of the 26 nursing graduates attended a special Pinning Ceremony following the larger Winter Commencement. During the Pinning Ceremony, the nursing students were recognized individually, each receiving the official pin of the BC School of Nursing. The pin features a cross in the center, symbolic of the value the college places on the integration of faith in learning and the call on the graduates to be Christ-centered in their service as nurses.
The pin also includes an image of the Florence Nightingale lamp and a likeness of two clutched hands, representing the beacon of comfort, kindness, gentleness and courage Nightingale displayed as a nurse during the Crimean War and the hand of God holding the hand of a nurse. The outer circle of the pin lists four core values of the BC School of Nursing: respect, leadership, service and caring.
The nursing graduates also participated a commissioning service that challenged them to “protect and defend the dignity of every person,” “care for the sick, the suffering and the disenfranchised with competence and confidence,” “attend to and respect the whole person,” and “fully engage in the art and science of caring with compassion for the sick regardless of the reason for their illness or the circumstances of their lives.”
Bluefield College announced the creation of its new nursing program in the fall of 2010 to meet a critical need in southwest Virginia for baccalaureate nursing education. Soon after, the college developed partnerships with regional community colleges to make the nursing program more accessible to RNs and associate degree graduates in southwest Virginia. Not long after, the school earned accreditation for nursing with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and enrolled its first students in the fall of 2011.