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Nursing Program Celebrating 50th Anniversary, Pinning Ceremony

Nursing Program Celebrating 50th Anniversary, Pinning Ceremony photo
Joanne Maher was one of the founding instructors of NMJC’s nursing program 50 years ago

5/6/2017 12:38:02 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

Since 1966, when New Mexico Junior College opened its doors, the nursing program has played a role in training quality health care professionals for Lea County and the region.

More than 1,500 nursing students have been educated in various fields of nursing.

Today, NMJC celebrates its 50th Nursing Pinning Ceremony. Twenty-six students from the Class of 2017 will be recognized at the ceremony to be held at 4 p.m. at Tydings Auditorium.

Each of the 26 students will receive a pin acknowledging his or her status as agraduate nurse by the State of New Mexico and New Mexico Junior College.

Hundreds of alumni from the nursing program will be in attendance, both as past students and past professors. They will be recognized at the ceremony and at a special reception following the event.

Joanne Maher was one of the original faculty members who started in 1966 in the NMJC Nursing program, and went on to be director of the Nursing Department. She saw hundreds of students receive their pins and diplomas.

“It was rusty back then,” she said. “There were 17 students in the first class, and we had a few beds to train. Everything was old style. We started with the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), adding the RN program later (the RN program was added in 1971). Today I’ve seen many of my students taking care of me when I go to the doctor or hospital. It’s all come full-circle, and it’s really rewarding to know they make a difference in Lea County.”

The ceremony for 2017 will include giving a candle to each graduate. The lights will then be lowered and candles lighted, one nurse to the next, each passing the light of knowledge to the next. The candles are in honor of the founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale, who was known as the “lady with the lamp” during the Crimean War, selflessly helping British soldiers. As a tribute to her dedication, the lamp became symbolic of nursing.

Once all the graduates’ candles are lighted, the students and program director recite the Nurse’s Oath. Two freshman then come forward with their candles, which are lighted by the graduates, to symbolize transferring the Light of Knowledge into the Future.

“This ceremony showcases the achievements these students have accomplished,” said Misty Stine, interim director of Nursing. “They have worked so hard, and it is our way to recognize them for their dedication to nursing.”

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