Nursing faculty surprise student and mother with private pinning ceremony

Imagine a large room full of hundreds of people with happy tears in their eyes supporting someone who spent the last couple of years completely dedicated to earning their nursing degree. These emotional families and friends are at a pinning ceremony where newly graduated nursing students are presented with a special nursing pin from their college’s faculty as they are welcomed into the nursing profession. This is the nursing pinning ceremony; a rite of passage for nursing graduates. A nursing pinning ceremony honors and celebrates nursing students and their journey to becoming a nurse. Many nursing students anticipate the pinning ceremony throughout their time as a nursing student.


Central Carolina Technical College’s Associate Degree Nursing class of May 2020 would have had their traditional pinning ceremony May 7, 2020 at The Sumter Opera House in downtown Sumter. Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college had to make the difficult decision to postpone pinning and graduation ceremonies for the sake of safety for all who would be in attendance.

Jamie (Beth) Lee is one student in the May class of nursing graduates who has been anxiously waiting for her pinning ceremony. Jamie graduated from Lake City High School in 1997. While she was in high school she completed the Health Occupations program and received her Certified Nursing Assistant certification through that program. In August of 2004 she became a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She worked as an LPN at McLeod Hospital in the Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) department for 14 years. After her time working at McLeod Hospital, she was ready to pursue her associate degree in nursing (ADN) and in the Summer of 2019, she enrolled in the ADN program at CCTC. Jamie knew she needed to find a job that would have flexible hours to compliment her heavy schoolwork load and she was hired as an LPN at Lake City Community Hospital in the emergency department that summer.


“The transition to a new job in the ER helped me with my skills and also was a refresher of skills for me to use with going back to school. One of the things I liked most about the nursing program at CCTC was the simulation lab. When I was in LPN school, 16 years ago, we pretty much gave bed baths to each other as students. When I walked into the simulation labs at CCTC, I was amazed at the advancement in technology. It is state-of-the-art and offers a great learning experience,” says Jamie.


“The main reason why I went back to school to pursue my nursing degree was because of my mother, Vanessa Smith. She was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 lung cancer in March of 2016. I was very discouraged when she was first diagnosed and I wanted to quit. She would not let me. She told me many times that she could not go to Heaven until she saw me graduate and get my nursing pin. When the COVID-19 pandemic started and we found out that the pinning and graduation ceremonies were postponed, we were both devastated. I was more heartbroken for her than I was for myself. I knew that there was no guarantee that she would be able to see me walk across that stage with her cancer getting worse.”


After taking her final exams, Jamie was ecstatic to learn she had passed! Later that day, she received a call from a fellow classmate of hers who told her that a few instructors from the nursing program had arranged for a surprise pinning ceremony for Jamie and her mother. “I couldn’t believe it,” Jamie said, “I felt completely blessed, humbled and thankful. We surprised my mom and she had no idea that this was arranged for her. She was so excited and I was so thankful that she was here to see me get my pin. I am so thankful that my instructors took time out of their day to make this possible for my mom. They care, they have big hearts and this shows it to no end. I could never thank them enough.”


Graduates of Central Carolina’s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Program are prepared for careers as technical nurses in acute care, long-term care or home health settings. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and are approved by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation Board of Nursing. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).


For more information about the Associate Degree in Nursing Program, visit:

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