University Relations and Communications

Pinning ceremony marks entry of registered and practical nurses

December 9, 2014


Annual ceremony will be held Friday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., in Petro Theatre.


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Forty graduates of City College at Montana State University Billings’ nursing program will be honored on Friday at a formal pinning ceremony.


Dustin Kelly holds her MSU Billings nursing pin

An age-old tradition in the nursing field and a symbolic welcome into the profession, the pinning ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Petro Theatre on the university campus, 1500 University Dr.


City College nursing program director Susan Floyd said that for the 21 registered nurse and 19 practical nurse graduates, the landmark event for each two-year program represents the beginning of their professional careers.


“It’s a rite of passage into the profession,” Floyd said.


Registered nursing student Destin Kelly, of Livingston, said for her the ceremony also is an opportunity to be recognized for achieving her goals.


“The ceremony is a great way for our class to reflect on our time as nursing students and celebrate the hard work we’ve put forth in becoming nursing professionals,” Kelly said.


Kelly’s husband will pin her during the ceremonyIn addition to receiving a pin to be worn on their uniforms as a reminder of their purpose, students also are given a lamp that serves as a tribute to Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern-day nursing who was known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp,’ tending to the sick while carrying a lamp to light the way.


Practical nursing student Katrina Brandenburg said nursing instructors light the nightingale lamps during the ceremony.


“It is a symbolic passing of the torch, welcoming us into the profession,” she said.

Nursing instructor Kim Carlson-Oldaker said students graduate the program well prepared to enter into the healthcare field.


“It’s amazing to watch the students learn and grow, from not really knowing much when they enter the program to blossoming into professional nurses,” Carlson-Oldaker said. 


Carlson-Oldaker also works as a registered nurse at St. Vincent Healthcare. She said nursing students fill a vital need in the Billings healthcare community at hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, extended care facilities, retirement centers, assisted-living facilities and in nursing pools.


“It’s such an honor to start working with the nurses I helped to train,” she said. 


According to Floyd, the nursing program’s director, more than 90 percent of City College nursing graduates are hired in the healthcare field following graduation.


Dustin Kelly prepares for her final examination in City College’s nursing lab“Our program is known for its quality education and ability to equip students for lifelong learning and career potential,” Floyd said.


In the upcoming weeks, nursing graduates will take the national NCLEX assessment in order to be fully licensed.


City College offers associate degree nursing options for students interested in becoming registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, admitting 40 new students each year.


The Associate of Science in Registered Nursing option received notification in October of its candidacy for accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Learn more about City College’s nursing programs on the Nursing Program webpages.


Photos captions:
Top: Dustin Kelly holds her MSU Billings nursing pin. Kelly’s husband will pin her during the ceremony.
Bottom: Dustin Kelly prepares for her final examination in City College’s nursing lab.


Related: Snapshots of MSU Billings, Katrina Brandenburg, LPN nursing student