HAGERSTOWN -- A ceremony welcoming graduates into the nursing profession Saturday at Hagerstown Community College was a practice steeped in history and tradition.
During the Crimean War in the mid-1800s, English nurse Florence Nightingale made rounds caring for injured soldiers during the night. She became known as "the lady with the lamp."
In a nod to Nightingale, graduates of the practical nursing and registered nursing programs marched single file into HCC's Athletic, Recreation, and Community Center carrying glowing candles. Two students lighted two pillar candles that continued to burn on the stage throughout the nurse pinning ceremony.
Following remarks from HCC President Guy Altieri, nursing division director Karen Hammond placed a nursing pin on each of the graduates as a symbolic welcome to the profession. A number of nursing schools are beginning to view the long-standing nurse pinning practice as outdated and abandoning it. But Hammond said HCC faculty continue to view the ceremony as an important rite of passage into the profession of nursing.