In-person pinning celebrations held August 2021

2021 pinning

The School of Nursing held August pinning ceremonies in person on Sunday, Aug. 8. More than 300 MSN, Post-Master’s Certificate and DNP students in 10 specialties received the VUSN pin, certificate or lavalier during the first in-person pinning held since December 2019. Family and friends were able to attend the two events, held in Langford Auditorium, with masking protocols in place.

During the ceremonies, 10 specialties announced their outstanding student award recipients. They were Timothy Scott George, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program; Jenny Sanford, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care; Melanie Vaughn, Family; Kaitlyn Vincent, Neonatal; Brett Young, Nursing and Health Care Leadership; Tip Tilton, Nursing Informatics; Amanda Thomas, Pediatric-Acute Care; Lauren Pittard, Pediatric-Primary Care; Carina Anderson, Psychiatric-Mental Health; and Mercedes Wheeler, Women’s Health. Other specialties finish in December or May, and their awards are announced at that time.

Two additional student awards were presented during the event. Lisa Stewart, a psychiatric-mental health NP student, received the Amy Frances Brown Prize for Excellence in Writing for her paper on treating vulnerable Black individuals with schizophrenia. Briana Garcia, an adult-gerontology primary care NP student, received the Daisy Award for specialty program students. A second Daisy award was presented to PreSpecialty student Virginia “Clare” Sooter in separate ceremonies.

The recipients of the Sara K. Archer Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning were also recognized. Meg Shifrin, DNP, MSN’06, FAANP, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care; Travis Dunlap, PhD, MSN’02, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care; Angel Anthamatten, DNP, MSN’00, Family; Colleen Moss, DNP, MSN’01, BS’00, Neonatal; Rick Watters, PhD, Nursing and Health Care Leadership; Kelly Aldrich, DNP, Nursing Informatics; Marshay James, DNP’17, PMC’15, Pediatric-Acute Care; Terry Witherington, DNP, Pediatric-Primary Care; Matt Schroer, DNP, MSN’08, Psychiatric-Mental Health; and Stefani Yudasz, DNP’16, MSN’14, Women’s Health, each received their specialty’s student-voted award.

The events marked Dean Pamela Jeffries’ first school-wide ceremony since becoming dean on July 1, 2021. In addressing the students and guests, she outlined the traditions behind pinning and noted its significance in the nursing profession. “This milestone for nurses is eagerly anticipated and frequently seems more intimate and meaningful than graduation. For some of you, pinning recognizes your entry into the profession of nursing. For others, it recognizes your completion of a strenuous, challenging and fulfilling program of advanced nursing education,” said Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing. “For all, it provides an opportunity for your faculty, family, friends and colleagues to recognize your hard work, hard-won knowledge and bright future.”

A virtual pinning ceremony was held for those unable to be in Nashville. Overall, the School of Nursing recognized 343 master of nursing science, 16 Post-Master’s Certificate and 18 doctor of nursing practice students upon the completion of their programs.

Images: Anne Raynor

Photo, top:
Dean Pamela Jeffries addresses pinning ceremony participants and their guests. On the platform, left, Mavis Schorn, Jennifer Kim, Terri Allison, Karen D’Apolito, Deb Arnow, Patricia Sengstack, Kim Steanson, Brittany Nelson and Marci Zsamboky.