School of Nursing celebrates accomplishment during August Pinning ceremonies

Dean Linda Norman, Nicholas Pickett, Brian Widmar

More than 350 Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) students were recognized at the completion of their programs during Pinning ceremonies held at Langford Auditorium on Sunday, Aug. 6.

The 276 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students received the VUSN pin from their individual specialty directors, while eight Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students received lavaliers to wear with their existing pins from Terri Allison, DNP, ACNP-BC, FAANP, director of the DNP program. Carole Weddington HuntFourteen advance practice nurses who completed post-master’s study in additional specialties received certificates indicating their achievement. An additional 56 students completed programs but were unable to attend the events.

Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., FAAN, VUSN dean and the Valere Potter Menefee Professor in Nursing, outlined the origin and significance of pinning for the gathering of students, faculty, family and friends. With a history dating back to the Crusades, pinning in its modern form began with Florence Nightingale and is a tradition unique to nursing. Each nursing school has its own pin identifying its graduates, the awarding of which signifies entry into the nursing profession.

Dean Norman, Carlatesha Flippin, Brittany NelsonVanderbilt held two ceremonies, with five programs featured in the morning session and four in the afternoon. During the celebrations, program directors for each nursing specialty announced the recipients of that program’s outstanding student award. The students were:

Charlotte Linville — Pediatric Nurse Practitioner—Acute Care
Allison Mitchell — Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Rachel Muneio — Nursing Informatics
Jodi Nelson — Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Alison Ryan — Family Nurse Practitioner
Dean Norman, Jason Holritz, Geri ReevesMissy Smith — Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Seri Stoppenhagen — Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Jennifer Webber — Psychiatric-Mental Health NP (Lifespan)
Kimberly Woodward — Pediatric Nurse Practitioner—Primary Care

The Amy Frances Brown Prize for Excellence in Writing went to Sarah Carpenter for her paper, “Clinical Microsystem Analysis: Nashville’s Veteran’s Affairs Outpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic.” In announcing the award, chair of VUSN’s School Life Committee Susan Andrews, MSN, R.N., CPN, Susan Andrews, Sarah Carpenter, Dean Normannoted that 20 student papers were submitted for the award, with Carpenter’s judged the most outstanding.

VUSN Alumni Board President Tiffany Street, MSN, ACNP-BC, presented Family Nurse Practitioner student Kelsey Moore with the VUSN Alumni Association Award for Student Excellence in Service and Leadership to School and Community.

Moore was recognized for her exceptional commitment to community service and volunteerism, in particular, her interdisciplinary leadership of Vanderbilt University’s Hult Prize program and work with the university’s Turner Family Center for Social Ventures. Lindsey Moore, Kelsey Moore, Dean Linda Norman, Sherry HesseyOne of her nominator’s wrote that, “Kelsey has continually led her peers, including me, to step outside their social and educational confines.” Another said that, “Kelsey’s presence through community service enhanced existing services and left them better off.”

Moore, a member of the VUSN Graduate Student Council, and Kendra Osborn, chair of the council, spoke to the assembly on behalf of their fellow students. Both acknowledged family, friends, faculty, staff and classmates for their support, with Moore encouraging her classmates to stay connected, whether through social media, group chats, tailgates or other activities. “We Kendra Osbornbecame stronger going through this program together, and we will be stronger in our careers by staying connected,” she said, exhorting them to give back as preceptors, mentors, alumni and advocates for their profession.

Osborn noted that their nursing studies had been challenging in untold ways, but that faculty and staff provided guidance, love and support to her and her classmates. She thanked Norman for providing the pins given to each student and for her leadership. “You lead our school with grace and dignity, and I know I speak for all of us when I say that we hope we may amount to be the inspirational nurse that you have been for us,” she said.Linda Norman, Kristine Tomlinson-Miles, Alex Tomlinson-Miles

During the ceremony, nine faculty members were honored with Sara K. Archer Awards for outstanding contributions to student learning. The student-voted awards went to Steve Busby, Ph.D., FNP-BC (Family Nurse Practitioner); Missy Evans, DNP, APRN, CPNP-AC (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Acute Care); Jeff  Gordon, Ph.D. (Nursing Informatics); Nancy Kraft, MSN, APRN, NNP-BC (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner); Brittany Nelson, DNP, CPNP-PC (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Primary Care); Abby Parish, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, GNP-BC, FNAP (Adult-2017 Neonatal studentsGerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner); Jessica Searcy, DNP, FNP-BC, WHNP-BC (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner); Megan Shifrin, DNP, ACNP-BC (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner); and Dawn Vanderhoef, PhD, DNP, PMHNP/CS-BC (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner).

From left, Dean Linda Norman waits to congratulate Nicholas Pickett, who is being pinned by Brian Widmar, Ph.D., R.N., ACNP-BC, CCRN, director of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty.

Carole Weddington Hunt celebrates a double achievement: she earned her doctor of nursing practice degree and a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate.

As Dean Linda Norman looks on, Brittany Nelson, DNP, CPNP-PC, director of the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty, pins Carlatesha Flippin.

Newly pinned Family Nurse Practitioner Jason Holritz shares his happiness with Assistant Professor Geri Reeves, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, and Dean Norman.

From left, Susan Andrews, MSN, R.N., CPN; Dean Linda Norman and Sarah Elizabeth Carpenter, who was awarded the faculty-selected Amy Frances Brown Prize for Excellence in Writing. Carpenter just completed her psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner studies.

Kelsey Moore (second from left) received the 2017 Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Service and Leadership to School and Community. After the ceremony, her twin sister, Lindsey Moore (far left) and mother, Sherry Hessey (far right), joined Dean Norman in congratulating her. Moore moves to Seattle this month and hopes to begin her career as a family nurse practitioner.

VUSN Graduate Student Council Chair Kendra Osborn earned her Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner MSN and already plans to earn her Ph.D. at VUSN. That will be the third Vanderbilt degree for Osborn, who graduated in 2015 from the College of Arts and Science.

Husband and wife Alex and Kristine Tomlinson-Miles earned their MSNs together in the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty. The Michigan couple were already experienced RNs when they entered the VUSN program. From left, Dean Linda Norman, Kristine Tomlinson-Miles and Alex Tomlinson-Miles.

Members of the Class of 2017 Neonatal Nurse Practitioners.

Photography by Susan Urmy