Nursing Program Pinning Ceremony

Date: Thursday, May 3, 2018
Time:  6:00 p.m.
Location: Martin Campus Gymnasium

Participation in the Pinning Ceremony

Nursing students who complete the Associate Degree, Practical Nursing, and Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide programs have the option of participating in a pinning ceremony. The pinning ceremony is a time-honored nursing school tradition. It signifies the new graduate’s official initiation into the nursing profession. The ceremony is rich with symbolism; and the history of this rite of passage can be traced back to the Crusades of the 12th century. The ceremony is held at the end of each semester and will be under the auspices of Shelton State Community College and thus under the general control of the nursing administration and faculty. 

Nursing Pin and Lamp Information

The pin the nursing student receives is custom designed for students in each Shelton State Nursing Program. The Associate Degree Nursing students receive a circular shaped pin, the Practical Nursing students a diamond shaped pin, and the Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide student receive a circular shaped pin. The nursing pin represents the completed education as well as a commitment to service and caregiving. Graduates are expected to purchase a pin to participate in the ceremony. 
Graduates are also expected to wear their pins as part of their uniform wherever employed.
In the nursing profession, the lamp holds a special, symbolic tribute to Florence Nightingale. With only a lamp to light her way during the Crimean War, Ms. Nightingale spent endless hours tending the wounded soldiers. As a tribute to Ms. Nightingale’s dedication the lighting of the lamp is part of the ceremony. The graduates are expected to purchase a lamp. The pin and lamp have to be pre-ordered through the nursing programs office, approximate costs are listed below. For more information contact the nursing office at 205.391.2445.
Pins:  ADN - $50.00 (price is subject to change) 
  PN - $25.00 (price is subject to change) 
  NA/HHA - $25.00 (price is subject to change)
Lamp:       $6.00 (price is subject to change)


Pinning Ceremony practice is conducted by the nursing programs faculty and staff. Graduates will be notified of time related to class schedules.  Graduates are asked to attend to help make the ceremony proceed smoothly.


Parking is available at the West Entrance for the August and December Pinning Ceremony held in the Gymnasium. Parking is available at the West Entrance for the May Pinning Ceremony held in the Martin Campus Gymnasium.

Graduates are required to be dressed in white uniform (pants and top or dress) and lined up in the designated hallway near the Gymnasium thirty minutes prior to the ceremony.  

Appropriate Attire

  • Participants/Nursing Graduates: White uniform (pants and top or dress), white socks or hose, and white closed toed leather shoes. Hair that is shoulder length or longer must be pulled back and pinned up away from the face. Minimal jewelry and makeup should be worn.
  • Faculty/staff participants should be dressed in dressy casual attire.
Note: Uniforms must be clean, neat, pressed, and well fitted.

Arrival and Event Procedures

Nursing graduates are expected to arrive at the selected pinning ceremony location in their white uniforms approximately thirty minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The ceremony begins with a processional of the stage guests, nursing faculty and staff, and nursing graduates. Attendees or audience are asked to stand for the processional. The ceremony will consist of a general welcome, introduction of faculty and staff, pinning of the graduates, lighting of the lamps, nursing and alumni pledges, and a recessional of the graduates.  A small reception is provided prior to or at the end of the ceremony. 

Proper Stage Etiquette

  • When the announcer reads the graduate’s name, the graduate will walk to the front of the stage to be pinned.
  • The graduate will hand the pin to the instructor and stand with one shoulder facing the audience to be pinned. Smile and say thank you, continue across the stage to receive a lamp, and proceed to the designated place until all graduates are pinned.
  • After all graduates have been pinned, the designated instructor will invite graduates to the front of the stage or designated place for the lighting of the lamp.  
  • The designated instructor will offer the flame to two graduates who will then offer it to a fellow graduate until all are lighted.  
  • At the conclusion of the lighting ceremony, graduates will return to their seats for the remainder of the ceremony. 

Photography and Video

Photography and video are allowed during the ceremony. 

Shelton State offers an online Photo Store where you may purchase photographs and other merchandise. Please allow up to 3 weeks after the date of the event for photos to become available. 
Event Etiquette
The Nursing Pinning Ceremony is a time of great honor and dignity and a special occasion for our graduates and their family members. We ask that you refrain from talking, cheering, excessive movement, and using electronic devices during the ceremony.  Balloons and gift items for graduates are not allowed in the ceremony venue. 

Conclusion of Ceremony
During the exiting processional after the Pinning Ceremony has concluded, staff members will direct family and friends to the reception area.