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(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently celebrated 25 of its Nursing graduates in a special and socially distant way.

Smiles were noticeable despite mandatory facial masks as family members participated in the tradition of “pinning” the graduates. Parked cars honked for joy as loved ones received their pins, which signify completion of the program and preparedness for a career in their field.

TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez said that the special ceremony is one of the ways to recognize those who will serve in health care.

“One of the blessings we want to bestow on our front-line workers is making sure that we send them out into the workforce not only with the skills that they need to impact their industry, but also with the traditional blessing received by health care workers, which is the pinning ceremony,” she said. “These students are going to go out and leave their mark on the industry.”

Nursing instructor Heather Sauceda reiterated the importance of the pinning ceremony for health care workers.

“This time is such a special moment,” she said. “As a nurse, your pinning is a rite of passage.”

She added that despite the trials and tribulations that are part of studying for a career in health care, ceremonies like this create fond memories that last a lifetime.

“You remember the hard times that made you cry, and you remember the moments that made you proud,” she said. “The pinning is something that they will always hold to heart.”

After the students received their pins, they lined up in front of their vehicles to recite the Nightingale Pledge, which is a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath named for the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

Sauceda offered some advice for the graduates as they embark on their new journeys.

“Be a safe and competent nurse,” she said. “Always listen to your inner gut because that will save you.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at its Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. A Certificate 2 in Vocational Nursing is offered in Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater. For more information, visit https://www.tstc.edu/programs/Nursing.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. To apply to TSTC, visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions.

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