[December 5, 2019 | MENA, Ark.] In a tradition that dates back to the mid-1880’s, UA Rich Mountain held its pinning ceremony for the college’s RN Class of 2019 on Thursday, December 5 in the Ouachita Center on campus.
Representing the RN Class of 2019 were Tonya Campbell, Elaine Crabtree, Maranda Dees, Michelle Gibson, Kelsey Hamel, Caitlin Hurst, Sarah Jenkins, Taylor Jones, Whitney Kincaid, Cori Leon, Amy Lewis, Gem Lewis, Terry McGee, Adrienne Pannell, Mandy Ryals, Jaren Standridge, Brooklyn Tackett, Victoria Tackett, Heather Thacker, Sasha Wise, Mai Yang, Sing Yang.
Receiving the prestigious Florence Nightingale Award was Taylor Jones and Tonya Campbell.
UA Rich Mountain is a member of the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC), which is comprised of eight community and technical colleges located in rural areas of Arkansas. ARNEC was created to provide LPN's/LVN's with the opportunity to take the next step towards advancing their careers in nursing by earning an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree, which prepares them to sit for the RN licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN.
Many LPN's/ LVN's had not taken this step because they were not able to stop working and travel to colleges that offered Registered Nurse (RN) completion programs. ARNEC was created to help rural nurses meet this need. ARNEC provides a way for Arkansas’ higher education institutions to serve LPN's/ LVN's who want to become RN's without leaving the communities in which they live and work.
Charla Hollin, UA Rich Mountain’s Allied Health Division Chair, noted how sentimental the pinning ceremony is, not only is it steeped in tradition and symbolism, it is also more intimate for the students and their friends/families, even beyond the graduation ceremonies.
As part of the ceremony, they have a lamp lighting, inspired by Florence Nightingale, who used a lamp to light her way as she made her rounds to the sick. To the injured, her visits brought feelings of comfort and friendliness. The bright flame has come to symbolize knowledge, enlightenment, experience and hope.
This time-honored pinning ceremony signifies membership in a proud and loyal society of nurses, who are an important part of the global healthcare workforce.