First class of baccalaureate-prepared nurses to receive Penn State nursing badge

Thursday, May 3

ERIE, Pa. — The nursing program at Penn State Behrend will host its pinning ceremony for the college’s first graduating class of baccalaureate-prepared nursing students on Thursday afternoon in advance of Friday evening’s college-wide commencement.

Pinning will take place at 4 p.m. in the Reed Union Building’s McGarvey Commons. Thirty candidates for the four-year B.S.N. degree will be honored.

The practice of giving a nurse a badge to welcome him or her to the profession has a rich historical tradition. Like the caps and gowns worn at a commencement, the template for nursing pins dates to the Middle Ages. Academic regalia mimics the robes worn by clerics of the monastic orders, while nursing pins evolved from the Maltese Cross and family coats-of-arms. Penn State’s nursing badge is a blue enamel oval with the University shield, “College of Nursing” and “BSN” presented in gold relief.

“The pinning ceremony is a tradition in nursing education that is often more meaningful to our students than their graduation ceremony,” said Kimberly Streiff, campus coordinator for nursing programs. “Students and faculty alike share in the celebration of hard work and dedication.”

Penn State Behrend closed its two-year associate-degree nursing program in 2013 to better align its nursing curriculum with the projected employment patterns in an increasingly complex health-care ecosystem. At that time, the Institute of Medicine, which is a division of the National Academy of Sciences, recommended that 80 percent of all nurses should hold a baccalaureate degree by 2020.

The college currently offers two nursing degrees, the four-year B.S.N. and an RN-to-B.S.N. completion program for nurses with a two-year education. Eight RN-to-B.S.N. degree candidates also will be recognized at Thursday’s pinning ceremony.