Pinning ceremony gives closure to CVTC nursing grads
Exciting times in life can sometimes come with a tinge of sadness. Fifteen Chippewa Valley Technical College Nursing-Associate Degree graduates shared those mixed feelings Monday, Dec. 17, at ceremony in which they received their nursing pins, a tradition of the profession dating back 120 years.
Because of small numbers and only one program with graduates, CVTC does not hold a fall graduation ceremony for its River Falls Campus. Those graduates were invited to the Dec. 18 graduation ceremony in Eau Claire. Fewer than half of the graduates planned to make the trip, making the pinning ceremony their last chance to be together as a class.
"Our entire class is super-close," said Stefanie Deal, of New Richmond. "I couldn't ask for a better group to graduate with. We got together out of school too. We became like a family."
"The pinning ceremony gives them some closure at the beginning of their careers and the closing of their school years," said Renee Christensen, one of the class instructors. "And it's important for family to have a chance to recognize them for their accomplishment."
When the River Falls Campus holds a full graduation ceremony in May, the nurses receive their pins at that ceremony, but it is common among nursing schools to hold separate pinning ceremonies. The pins they receive are unique to their schools. At the CVTC pinning ceremony, the graduates chose a person significant in their pursuit of their nursing degree to award their pins.
The family-like fee of the nursing program is a reason many of the graduates chose CVTC to begin with.
"I like that it's a small community and you get more one-on-one attention," said Deal, a 2008 Amery High School graduate. "It's very tight-knit here."
"I originally started at a big school," said Stephanie Bertram of River Falls. "This is more personal. I felt the people here really cared about me."
Bertram has been working at Westfields Hospital in New Richmond and hopes to continue there after passing her boards to become a fully licensed registered nurse. But for now she is enjoying having finished her associate degree, and attended the graduation in Eau Claire to celebrate.
"This is my first degree and I worked really hard to get it," Bertram said.
"I like the small class sizes," said Tyson Larson of Hudson about her reason for choosing CVTC's program. "And I have known a couple of the program graduates, and they recommended it. And it's close to where I live."
Larson said nursing was a natural choice for her as a yoga instructor and a practitioner of bodywork, an alternative medicine. "My goal is to empower people," she said.