Pinning began at Worcester State University with the first class of RN-to-BS graduates in 1976. At the time, graduate nurses of the program received the school pin from the department chair and the class speaker addressed his or her peers as well as family and friends, reflecting on accomplishments and looking to the future.
As the program grew and developed, a traditional four-year pre-licensure program was added. The theories and philosophies of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, became the foundation of the department’s curriculum.
History was made during the Crimean War when Florence Nightingale took 38 women to Turkey to nurse sick and wounded British soldiers. The British government had never before permitted women to do this. Because of her selfless duty during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale became known as the "lady with the lamp." As a tribute to Florence's dedication, the lamp icon became symbolic of nursing.
The lamp will always shine brightly as a symbol of the care and devotion the nurse administers to the sick and injured in the practice of nursing.
Thus, nursing students honor the dedication of Florence Nightingale, and symbolically pledge to carry the ideals for which she stood, in the candle lighting portion of the pinning ceremony. It is with the lighted candles that the graduates recite the International Council of Nurses Pledge (see below).
During the pinning ceremony, the Worcester State University graduate nurse, is presented to family and friends as a professional who is about to practice nursing in the tradition of its founder. The graduate is usually “pinned” by the class advisors who have worked with the students throughout their undergraduate curriculum. The school pin is a symbol of the successful completion of a rigorous curriculum which prepares its graduate to administer to the sick and injured and promote health through the practice of nursing.
Particularly poignant is the passing of the Nightingale lamp from Senior Class to Junior Class officers through which the unique traditions and ideals of professional nursing are continued.
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF NURSES' PLEDGE
“In the full knowledge of the task I am undertaking, I promise to take care of the sick with all the skill and understanding I possess, without regard to race, creed, color, politics, or social status, sparing no effort to conserve life, to alleviate suffering, and promote health.
I will respect at all times the dignity and religious beliefs of the patients entrusted in my care, holding in confidence all personal information entrusted to me and refraining from any action which might endanger life or health.
I will endeavor to keep my professional knowledge and skill at the highest level and give loyal support and cooperation to all members of the health team."