For nearly 100 years, nurses have received pins to symbolize their transition from student to professional.
And for the 52 people in West Coast University- Los Angeles's latest graduating cohort, it also represents a day they will never forget.
West Coast University's pin has four symbols: the book, which stands for knowledge; stairs, which represent success; the torch is the desire to learn; and leaves, which symbolize growth.
“Today is a really special day," WCU BSN graduate Shawn Estebo said after the September ceremony at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. "The only way to make it through nursing school is to connect with others, to do this together. You can’t do it alone and it’s done by helping each other.”
Estebo said nursing is his calling and said his goal is to work in the ICU at either Cedars-Sinai or UCLA Medical Center.
“For me, it took a lot of effort. I feel like I had to work a little extra hard. I gave myself 200 percent to the whole program and it paid off," Estebo said.
Esetbo was voted by his cohort to be one of the student speakers and took time during his address to thank WCU faculty and classmates.
“The art of being a nurse is so much more than learning disease processes, but it also encompasses connecting with our patients through compassion and support," Estebo said in his speech. "This is the part of nursing that makes me so proud to be a part of this profession. We will all touch so many lives in so many unique ways."
WCU Dean of Nursing Robyn Nelson shared the history of the pinning ceremony with the cohort and explained what the images within WCU’s pin represent. She said the idea of pinning goes back to Florence Nightingale, who wanted to honor her nurses for their courage and heroism. The first pinning in the United States took place in 1916 and since then schools have bestowed pins unique to their institution to graduates.
Nelson explained in West Coast University's pin, “The book stands for knowledge. The stairs are success. The torch is the desire to learn and the leaves are growth."
She said she remembered her pinning like it was yesterday and knew WCU's latest graduating cohort would feel the same.
“Thank you for choosing nursing," Dean Nelson told the students. "You are the future of health care and it really is a privilege for me to be a part of it and to call you colleagues. Congratulations."