School of Nursing celebrates program completion with formal pinning ceremony

person walks across stage at pinningVanderbilt University School of Nursing recognized Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice students for the completion of their educational programs at two pinning ceremonies August 7, 2022, at Langford Auditorium. The School of Nursing celebrated 326 MSN, 17 Post-Master’s Certificate and 20 DNP students across 10 specialties. Family and friends were present to applaud the hard work and dedication of the future health care leaders, who received a VUSN nursing pin, certificate or lavalier.

VUSN Dean Pamela Jeffries welcomed the students and spoke on the meaning and value of the longstanding pinning tradition, which welcomes new nurses into the profession.  

Outstanding Student Award winners included: Michael Pogge (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner); Linda Tejada (Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner); Clifford O’Sullivan (Emergency Nurse Practitioner); Tadele Worku (Family Nurse Practitioner); Brianna McMinn (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner); Rachel Davis (Nursing and Health Care Leadership); Virginia del Casal (Nursing Informatics); Naima Abdirahman (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner–Acute Care); Paige McAfee (Pediatric Nurse PractitionerPrimary Care); Amanda Pollard (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner); and Hannah Smilansky (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner). 

person smiling

Dean Pamela Jeffries

Sara K. Archer Faculty Award recipients for outstanding contributions to student learning included: Professor Patricia Sengstack, DNP’10, FAAN, FACMI (Nursing Informatics); Assistant Professors Sarah Gast, DNP’15, PMC’13 (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner); Kanah Lewallen, DNP, MSN’09 (Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner); Travis McCall, PhD, MSN’13 (Emergency Nurse Practitioner); Angel Anthamatten, DNP, MSN’00 (Family Nurse Practitioner); Colleen Moss, DNP, MSN’01, BS’00 (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner); Jennifer Barut, PhD’18 (Nursing Health Care Leadership); Misty Evans, DNP’15 (Pediatric Nurse PractitionerAcute Care); Susan Beaird, DNP, MSN’07 (Pediatric Nurse PractitionerPrimary Care); Matt Schroer, DNP, MSN’08 (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner); and Lindsey Baksh, DNP’19, MSN’07 (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner). 

The Amy Frances Brown Prize for Excellence in Writing went to Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner student Kim Johnson for her paper, “Depression and Suicide Trends among African American Children and Adolescents.” 

The VUSN Alumni Association selected Amber Hopkins for the Award for Student Excellence in Service and Leadership to School and Community. The PMHNP student was recognized for her ongoing commitment to community service, hands-on volunteerism that reflects a positive image of Vanderbilt, and enthusiasm and support among classmates and faculty through leadership and involvement in school activities. She was nominated by faculty and fellow students. 

“Amber will leave VUSN having matriculated as a student and being prepared to become an advanced practice nurse; however, VUSN has benefited from her dedication and level of commitment,” said Joanie Jeannette, MSN’04, BSN’83, president of the VUSN Alumni Association. 

The School of Nursing holds pinning three times a year as students complete their programs; However formal Commencement and Investiture ceremonies only occur in May as part of the university’s Commencement activities.