ATLANTA – Mercer’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing will honor this year’s 139 new pre-licensure nursing graduates during a drive-through pinning parade this Friday morning on the University’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta.
In keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines, graduates will parade through the campus in their decorated vehicles, beginning at 9 a.m., while being cheered on by faculty and staff.
As each vehicle arrives at the walkway to the College of Nursing, a care package, including cards, letters and the College’s nursing pin, will be placed in the vehicle.
Completion of a pre-licensure nursing program traditionally includes the awarding of a nursing pin, which symbolizes the graduate has met the requirements associated with taking the licensure examination. Each institution has its own pin to commemorate its students’ entry into the profession.
At Mercer, which has the longest-standing nursing program in Georgia, pinning has been a ritual for more than a century. While this tradition has always been important, it carries added meaning for the Class of 2020’s nurses, who will graduate to join the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since 1902, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing has graduated more than 8,000 nurses, and we are proud to award entry-level students their nurse pin upon graduation. While ceremonies and rituals such as this are often more intimate, these days it is not ‘business as usual,’” said Dean Linda A. Streit, Ph.D., RN.
“Nursing graduates have been proudly wearing school pins since the late 1800s. We are very proud of our graduates, and they are well-prepared to enter into the workforce. They have not turned their backs on the importance of the work of nurses. In fact, they have fully embraced this commitment, even in the face of COVID-19.”
Dr. Streit commends this year’s graduates for completing a rigorous nursing program of study, which required “honorable, awe-inspiring and exhausting” work in learning how best to care for the sick and the suffering.
“It isn’t for everyone,” she said “So when nursing students complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, they often spell the word ‘earned’ just a little differently. Their degree is eaRNed, not given.”
The University’s Atlanta commencement, originally set for May 9, has been rescheduled for Aug. 9 at 3 p.m. in the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.
About the College of Nursing
Founded in 1902 as a school of nursing, the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is the longest established nursing program in Georgia. Over its 118-year history, the College has graduated more than 8,500 nurses. The College remains dedicated to educating the person, fostering the passion and shaping the future of nursing. The College merged with Mercer in 2001 and offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (including a traditional BSN, RN-BSN and an Accelerated BSN), a Master of Science in Nursing, a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Ph.D. in nursing. The College of Nursing is one of four academic units within the Mercer Health Sciences Center, along with the School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions. For more information, visit nursing.mercer.edu.