VUSN honors near-record number of students during pinning ceremonies

Sharon Karp, Kristen Smith, Dean Linda Norman

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) recognized 360 students — one of the largest classes in its history — during pinning ceremonies Sunday at Vanderbilt’s Langford Auditorium.

More than 2,000 family and friends packed Langford to watch VUSN students mark the completion of their nursing programs. To accommodate the large numbers, the school held two pinning ceremonies.

VUSN’s pinning ceremonies formally recognize students when they finish their master’s programs. School pins were presented to 313 students who finished Master of Science in Nursing degrees. Thirty students who finished the Doctor of Nursing Practice program received lavaliers to wear on their pins and 17 nurses received certificates of completion for post-master’s study.

Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and VUSN dean, exhorted students to wear their pins with pride and remembrance. “Every time you wear your pin, remember the faculty, staff and colleagues who were part of your journey,” she said. “The pin will remind you that you have a tripartite responsibility: to care, to advocate and to lead.”

Nursing pins trace their roots to Florence Nightingale and her work in the Crimean War. In 1916, the nursing pin became a standard way of recognizing excellence in nursing. Each nursing school awards its own pin to recognize achievements in nursing education. The VUSN pin, which originated in 1928, features the image of Vanderbilt founder Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Leslie Hopkins, Brionne WilliamsDuring Sunday’s ceremonies, the program directors for each nursing specialty presented an award to their specialty’s outstanding student. They were:

Madeleine M. Drummond — Family Nurse Practitioner
Erin Lea Miller — Nursing Informatics
Danielle Degati Nicholls — Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Primary Care
Hannah Paresa Noori — Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Acute Care
Ashley Nicole Rasa — Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Kimberly Ann Savage — Psychiatric-Mental Health NP (Lifespan)
Ralphine Renee Walton — Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Margaret Weaver — Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Shantel Renee White — Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner student Kristen Smith received the VUSN Alumni Association Award for Student Excellence in Service and Leadership to School and Community.

The Amy Frances Brown Prize for Excellence in Writing went to Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner student Nicholas Paul Archer for his paper, “Diagnosis and Management of Intrinsic Acute Kidney Injury after Cardiac Surgery.”

Eight 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); Jennifer Hensley, Ed.D., CNM, WHNP, LCCE (Women’s Health); Joan King, Ph.D., ACNP, ANP, FAANP (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner); Brittany Nelson, DNP, CPNP-PC (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Primary Care); Abby Parish, DNP, A/GNP-BC (Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner); Matt Schroer, MSN, PMHNP-BC (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner); Patti Scott, DNP, APN, NNP-BC, C-NPT (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner); and Kim Steanson, MSN, CPNP-AC/PC (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Acute Care).

For most students, Vanderbilt’s nursing program begins and ends in August. Vanderbilt nurse-midwifery students carry one additional semester of classes and are officially pinned in a December ceremony. All students are encouraged to return to campus for Vanderbilt’s official commencement in the spring.


Photos: Susan Urmy, VU 

Top, l-r:  Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner student Kristen Smith received the VUSN Alumni Association Award for Student Excellence in Service and Leadership. L-r, Alumni Association representative Sharon Karp, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC; Smith; and Dean Linda Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing

Right: Leslie Hopkins, DNP, APRN, BC, FNP-BC, ANP-C, director of the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty, pins Brionne Williams, MSN’16, BA’14. Even as a College of Arts and Science undergrad and VU track standout, Williams had her eyes on VUSN.