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Husson University Pinning Ceremony Welcomes New Nurses into the Profession

Published on: May 7, 2019

New graduates attend the nurses pinning ceremony

BANGOR, MAINE - Husson University’s School of Nursing announced today that they will be holding a pinning ceremony honoring the graduates of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. The ceremony will take place on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 1 p.m. at Husson’s Newman Gymnasium in Bangor.

Fifty-eight Bachelor of Science in Nursing, nine Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) and 20 Master of Science in Nursing graduates will be participating in the pinning ceremony. Lisa Harvey-McPherson, vice president for Government Relations at Northern Light Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, will be the keynote speaker.

Harvey-McPherson will be sharing stories from a 2016 publication, Maine Nursing: Interviews and History on Caring and Competence as part of her address to the graduates. “The introduction has an outstanding quote that I want to share with everyone,” she said. “As I see it, nurses are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. My speech will include stories about heroic Maine nurses. My hope is that my presentation will help inspire this class of graduating nursing students to become the future nursing heroes Maine needs.”

During the pinning ceremony, undergraduate and graduate nursing students are symbolically welcomed into the nursing profession. They are presented with Husson University/Eastern Maine Medical Center BSN or Husson University MSN nursing pins by a family member. As part of the ceremony, graduate nurses and registered nurses (RNs) receiving a higher degree will be asked to recite a pledge based on an oath originally created by Florence Nightingale, a renowned nurse and the founder of the first professional training school for nurses.[1]

“Pinning ceremonies are different from graduation and licensure examinations. At graduation, students are recognized for completing their degree requirements. Passing licensure exams demonstrates that students have met the national requirements to become professional healthcare providers,” said Donna Beuk, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, chair of Husson University’s School of Nursing.

“In contrast, a pinning ceremony serves as an acknowledgement by our faculty that a student is ready to fulfill the requirements of being a nurse. Our ceremony marks an important milestone where students are recognized as members of an elite fraternity of men and women dedicated to caring for others,” noted Beuk.


History of the Pinning Ceremony:

The pinning ceremony has been a part of Husson University’s nursing school tradition since 1986 when the first class of BSN students graduated. This rite of passage can be traced back to the Crusades of the 12th century. During this time, the Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John the Baptist tended to injured and infirm Crusaders. When new monks were initiated into the order, they vowed to serve these sick soldiers in a ceremony where each monk was given a Maltese cross, the first badges given to those who nurse.[1]

The modern ceremony dates back to the 1860s, when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George in recognition for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War. To share the honor, she in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates. By 1916, the pinning new graduates was a standard practice throughout the U.S.[2]


The Pledge:

As part of the pinning ceremony, Husson nursing students will be asked to make the following pledge, based on one originally crafted by Florence Nightingale: 

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity, and to practice my profession faithfully.

I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.  

I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.

With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician, in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.


About Husson University:

For more than 120 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. According to a recent tuition and fee analysis by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is the most affordable private college in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit

[1] “In the know: The history and importance of the pinning ceremony,” ,

[2] Ibid


[1] “Florence Nightingale Biography,” Florence Nightingale Museum,

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