CSM Newsroom

CSM Professors Welcome Graduates as Colleagues, Peers and Healers at Nurse Pinning Ceremony

February 5, 2024

“Embracing the Journey: From Students to Healers”

The College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) 45 nursing candidates for Winter 2024 graduation celebrated their achievements at the La Plata Campus by attending their recognition and pinning ceremony – a time-honored event that has CSM faculty welcoming their students as peers and colleagues in the field of nursing.

The students chose the theme “Embracing the Journey: From Students to Healers” to describe their class. CSM Nursing Professor Annette Ragland served as the mistress of ceremonies and welcomed attendees to the celebration of students’ courage and hard work.

"We are here to celebrate the accomplishments of these resilient students,” she said.

Before the students were called to the stage, Professor Robin Young explained the significance of the pin each nurse would receive. She said that the modern pinning ceremony dates 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, Nightingale in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates and by 1916, the practice of pinning new graduates was standard throughout the United States.

‘Always Remember Why You Chose this Path’

The featured speaker for the event was Dr. Karen Wyche Latham, vice president and chief nursing officer at Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, who has more than 33 years of experience in nursing. She asked the students to reflect on why they wanted to become nurses, and to let this “why” define their career.

Latham shared that she discovered her “why” during nursing school, when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. She said she was moved by her father’s nurse, who not only took care of her dad, but the family as well.

“I thought that if I could help people still feel cared for during the most vulnerable time of their lives, that’s the kind of nurse I want to be,” she said. “That solidified my ‘why’ and nursing was no longer my career, it became my purpose and my passion.”

“If you don’t know your ‘why’ yet, that’s ok – it will find you, or you will find it,” she reassured students. “But when you do, hold onto that, and let it be what guides you through your nursing career.”

Latham ended her speech by welcoming the students as colleagues in the nursing profession.

“Graduates, as you transition from students to healers, you are not alone,” she said. “You join a community of nurses who have come before you, who stand beside you, and who will come after you. Embrace the comradery and support that comes from this profession, for together we can achieve greatness.”

“We Continue to Awaken the Healer Within”

Student Joanne Perez was selected by her classmates to speak on behalf of the nursing cohort. She encouraged her classmates to reflect on the struggles that they endured while completing their nursing education.

“Today's occasion calls for celebration; we take the pain, the hurt, the frustration and turn it into empathy, courage and empowerment,” Perez said. “Today’s occasion calls for celebration; we celebrate the dedication, the hard work and perseverance as we conclude our nursing school journey here at the College of Southern Maryland. Today we humbly celebrate becoming nurses. Or celebrate loudly, we’re in a judge-free zone.”

“You Are Ready to Become the Healer”

Closing remarks were provided by Nursing Program Chair Dr. Sara Cano, who provided a meditation on the idea of nurses being “healers.”

“Healing is part of nursing by way of caring,” she said. “It is about including all facets of being human to achieve a state of health. Healing is accomplished by establishing caring relationships with those you become in contact with. This caring relationship supports the integration of body, mind, and spirit to reach a state of healing. The role of the nurse in healing is a constructive one in which the nurse empowers patients to actively participate in their well-being.”

She closed with the advice to for students to continually work to improve their nursing practice.

“To become the best healer, you can be you need to develop four characteristics: competency, compassion, wisdom, and self-cultivation,” she said. “I encourage and challenge you to work on all from day one. Days will be difficult, and you will get tired, but I ask you to remember why you became a nurse.”

CSM Professor Dr. Eden Kan presented the candidates. Students who proudly received their pins Jan. 11, 2024 from faculty pinners Cano, Professors Morag Dahlstrom, Lisa Gonzales, Linda Hamel, Lauren Guy, Deborah Rutledge, and Robin Madera were:

Holly Acuña

Stephanie Allers

Regina Ampiaw

Darian Anderson

Honorine Badolo

Danielle Beaver

Katie Childers

Teea L. Clark

Tabitha Crocker

Paige Curtis

Emmah Dahlberg

Carlie Dahlstedt-Henderson

Asia Reeé Davis

Samantha Delair “Academic Achievement in Nursing” Award Winner

Ramanda Desrameaux

Abigail Dodato

Gianni Estrada

Oluwafunmilola Gabriel

Morgan Gilliam

Elizabeth Kent

Krystal Lange

Sumiyati Lie

Emily McCrossa

Olivia McKenzie

Gabrielle Nelson

Bernice Ngere “Achievement in Nursing” Award Winner

Emily Nolen

Joanne Perez

Marjorie Renea Plaudis

Samantha Romba

Jill Shade

Ashley Shrawder

Kaitlyn Smith

Brooklen MaKayla Stewart

Brianna Stream

Victoria Tate

Kelsey Thompson

Natalie Joan Thompson

Brianna Threewitts

Susan Ulloa

Brittany Ashton Watson

Amari Weems 

Shellayne Whalen

Sarah Williams

Vanessa Pearl Wingfield


CMS Page Edit